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Burns. 2012 Mar;38(2):164-71. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2011.11.002. Epub 2011 Nov 25.

Efficacy of inpatient burn rehabilitation: a prospective pilot study examining range of motion, hand function and balance.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 125 Nashua Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



To examine the effect of inpatient rehabilitation therapy on range of motion, hand function and balance in the burn population.


This study utilizes a prospective longitudinal design. Inclusion criteria are adults admitted to a regional inpatient rehabilitation hospital with a primary diagnosis of burn injury. Demographic and medical data are collected. Primary outcomes include range of motion at four joints (shoulder, elbow, hip, knee), hand function (Jebsen Taylor Hand Test) and balance (Berg Balance Scale). Outcomes are measured at admission and discharge. Students't-test is used to determine significant differences in outcomes from admission to discharge.


Eleven subjects meet inclusion criteria. The mean age is 50 years, rehabilitation length of stay is 35 days and total body surface area burned is 41%. Subjects demonstrate significant improvements in range of motion, hand function and balance from admission to discharge (p<0.05).


Specific functional measures, range of motion, hand function and balance, demonstrate significant improvement during inpatient rehabilitation. Future work is needed to investigate other functional benefits of rehabilitation and to compare the impact of inpatient rehabilitation to other therapeutic interventions.

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