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Plast Reconstr Surg. 1987 Jun;79(6):927-34.

Impairment, time out of school, and time off from work after burns.


Objective measurement of impairment after burns is important to patients, physicians, lawyers, and insurance companies. Even so, we could not find any references in the English literature describing how to objectively rate the physical impairment of burn survivors. The American Medical Association (AMA) has published the book Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, which is commonly used by surgeons to rate injuries. We decided to use this document to rate the impairment of burn patients. We studied patients who were treated at the University of Washington Burn Center during the years 1981, 1982, and 1983; survived the injury; were hospitalized 5 or more days or were skin grafted; and were followed until their condition was fixed (usually 12 months). This group included 325 patients. The mean age was 28.2 years and the mean total body surface area burned (TBSA) was 11.6 percent. We measured whole-man impairment (WMI) as described by the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. The mean whole-man impairment was 7.7 percent. In addition, we recorded time off from work and out of school after burns. The average time off from work was 12.7 weeks, and the average time out of school was 8.5 weeks. We conclude that the AMA publication can be used to rate burn patients and that the whole-man impairment of burn survivors is quite low if amputation, loss of range of motion, and nerve damage can be prevented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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