Allied health collaboration, communication and compassion in response to the NSW bushfires, white island volcano explosion and COVID

Julia Kwiet1,3, Mrs Rachel  Edmondson2,3, Mrs Julie Bricknell2,3, Mrs Emily  Greenfield3,4, Mrs Bianca   Circosta,3,5

1NSRHS Social Work Department, RNSH, St Leonards, Australia, 2Department of Physiotherapy, RNSH,, St Leonards, Australia, 3Severe Burn Injury Service, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, Australia, 4Nutrition Department, Royal North Shore Hospital , St Leonards, Australia, 5Speech Pathology Department, Royal North Shore Hospital, ST IVES, Australia

Severe burn injuries are amongst the most severe and painful injuries that can be sustained. They pose serious adjustment challenges for patients, families and staff. The burns allied health team aim to optimise physical and psychosocial outcomes post severe burn injury. A multidisciplinary collaborative trauma informed approach is the hallmark of current best-practice burn management at Royal North Shore Hospital.

The NSW bushfire season, White Island Volcano Explosion and COVID made 2020 a particular challenging year for the Severe Burn Injury Unit. In the middle of the bushfire season of 2019/20, the Whakaari/White Island volcano erupted in New Zealand leaving many dead and 31 injured with severe burn injuries.

This presentation will start with an outline of usual Allied Health practice, followed by how the Allied Health team adapted to the challenges of 2020.

The allied health team’s contribution to all stages the continuum of care from the initial acute phase to the rehabilitation and adjustment phase post severe burn injury will be outlined.

Initial disaster response including casualties, retrieval and repatriation will be followed by an outline of the clinical and organisational allied health team’s response.

Lessons learnt and implications for improved future care and disaster preparedness will be discussed.  Recorded patient interviews reflecting on their recovery and experiences of different allied health interventions will be shown throughout this presentation.


Team biographies to come

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