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Nutrition and Burns: Case Study Presented by: Michelle Cork, State Adult Burns Unit WA

A 35-year-old male sustained burns to 50% of his body after accidentally spilling petrol on his clothes and then drinking with friends around a campfire, where an ember ignited his clothing.

In this case study, Michelle describes the general goals she explains to her burn patients:

  • Preservation of lean body mass
  • Promotion of immune defences
  • Provision of nutrients for effective wound healing

She explains the initial dietetic considerations and nutrition interventions for her case including:

The patient’s potential for refeeding

  • Monitoring phos/mg/glucose/U&E’s and supplementing as required
  • Recommendations for gradually increasing enteral feeding
  • Multivitamin supplementation
  • Estimating energy, protein and fluid requirements
  • Noting consistently raised BGL’s and prompting an insulin infusion

Michelle provides details of the patients progress in stages through Days 6, 10, 13, 20, 24, 25 and 35 (close to discharge).

This case study illustrates:

  • The specialised knowledge of burns nutrition which is necessary for maximising patient outcomes.
  • How the dietetic role changes throughout the admission of a burns patient.
  • The importance of engaging with the patient, their family and the entire burns team throughout treatment.

Michelle is the Senior Dietitian for the State Adult Burns Unit, at Fiona Stanley Hospital in Western Australia. She is currently undertaking a Masters of Clinical Science through the University of Adelaide which involves a systematic review of perioperative enteral feeding in burns patients. Michelle has presented at the Australian and New Zealand Burn Association conference and is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Burns Dietitian Discussion Group.

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