Emotional Healing for Burn Victims
As with any traumatic event, the same is true for a burn victim, they are going to have it rough for a while, feeling down, lost and that there’s no sunshine at the end of the tunnel. However, turning around a burn victim’s attitude and motivation to continue pushing are they key elements of a positive recovery and can affect how the burn victim’s rehabilitation progresses. During burn injury recovery, there are three different stages of recovery burn victims must deal with, from critical illness, acute recovery and a few years later, where the burn team and the burn victim’s family need to provide mental support, as this is one of the most important aspects of burn injury recovery.
During the critical stage of burn injury recovery, survival is doubtful and fear, pain, anxiety,confusion and sleep deprivation – all psychiatric issues – dominate a burn victim at this point. While the family would like to be close to the burn victim during this stage, these types of problems are typically dealt with by the ICU care professionals and psychiatric specialists, who are working more closely with the burn victim. With that said, however, as the family comes in to visit the burn victim, it is important that they speak with positive words and tone of voice to keep the burn victim reassured.
Acute Recovery Stage
Once survival is assured and surgery is no longer an immediate pressure and ICU is no longer necessary, acute recovery sets in for burn victims. During this stage, victims are typically still in the hospital and undergoing intensive physical and occupational therapy and gaining an understanding of the long-term impact of their burn injury. This is often the phase of recovery where depression sets in, including PTSD, and sleep disturbances. During this phase, burn victims will likely feel there is no good outcome to their recovery and families, the burn team and psychiatric specialist will need to work hard to encourage burn victims that there is light at the end of the tunnel, providing positive feedback to each small step taken.
Typically one to two years after being discharged from the hospital, burn victims become quite emotional. They are really trying to adjust to limitations at home and work, while still trying to nix PTSD from their life. They may still be dealing with symptoms of depression and not being fully physically recovered. Again, family members and psychiatric specialists will need to continue providing emotional support for burn victims during this time, encouraging them. During this time, participating in peer support groups for burn victims is also found to be helpful.
Burn victims struggle with not only physical recovery but emotional recovery as well. There are many different phases along the way, much like a roller coaster, and a burn victim’s emotional health and attitude play and important part in their physical recovery. It is important for family members, friends and loved ones to be as supportive as possible to aide in their emotional recovery.