Older Adults and Burns

Kristen Davidge, MD, Plastic Surgery Resident; Candidate, Master of Surgical Science, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, ON.
Joel Fish, MD, MSc, FRCS(C), Burn Surgeon, Ross Tilley Burn Unit, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Chief Medical Officer, St. Johns Rehab Hospital; Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto; Director of Research, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Burn injury among older adults will result in significant morbidity and mortality despite the many advances in burn treatment. Many adult burn units in North America admit and treat a significant number of older adults so understanding the issues and problems specific to this age group is important. Older adults experience specific problems with wound care, and if the injury is large, they will require critical care interventions during the course of treatment. Despite the advances in wound care and critical care that have occurred, the mortality rates of older adults with burn injuries remain quite high. This article reviews the literature on specific issues for older adults that need to be considered when treating older adults with burn injury.
Key words: burn injury, burn depth, older adults, geriatric, mortality.