Your Burn Center Care Team

Skilled physicians, surgeons, nurses, child life specialists, dietitians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, psychologists, therapeutic recreation specialists, massage therapists and case managers will take part in your child’s recovery. 

Nationwide Children’s Hospital specializes in the treatment of burn injuries. We have a dedicated team of health care professionals to care for your child.

Skilled doctors, nurses, child life specialists, dietitians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, psychologists, therapeutic recreation specialists, massage therapists and case managers will take part in your child’s care. This health care team will make certain we attend to every aspect of your child’s needs.

Case Management

The role of case management includes reading charts and communicating information to insurance companies for approval of days spent in the hospital. Case Management workers coordinate health care needs, supplies and equipment after the child goes home. They also:

  • Assess the child and family’s needs for case management services.

  • Coordinate health care and community resources.

  • Communicate with everyone on the health care team (nurses, doctors, social workers, dietitians, OT/PT) to identify learning needs and to plan care for the child and family before going home.

  • Make it easier for the family to manage their own health care when needed by:

    • Helping with insurance and other financial matters.

    • Arranging for services and supplies needed at home according to doctor’s orders.

Child Life Specialist

Child Life Specialists are important members of the child’s health care team. They will work with your child to help reduce fears and anxiety by:

  • Supporting your child’s emotional and social growth with special attention to your family and culture, while considering your child’s age and development.

  • Providing safe play areas.

  • Presenting a wide range of developmentally appropriate activities that support your child’s treatment goals and overall growth and development.

  • Improving your child’s understanding of medical procedures and diagnosis using teaching methods suited to your child’s age and development. Plus we offer support to siblings.

  • Provide distraction and support during dressing changes to help your child cope.

  • Supporting your family’s normal daily routines whenever possible.

If you have any questions please feel free to have your nurse contact us at anytime during your hospital stay.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is gentle touch, with the whole body, or certain parts of the body, for the purpose of healing and relaxation.

Research has shown that massage therapy has positive benefits:

  • Reduces anxiety and stress.

  • Relieves muscle tightness.

  • Promotes ease of movement.

  • Improves overall circulation.

  • Promotes relaxation, comfort and a sense of well-being.

  • Strengthens the immune system.

Your child will receive therapy from a massage therapist who is licensed by the Medical Board, State of Ohio. Massage therapists have had many hours of training, as well courses in anatomy and physiology.

Most massage therapy sessions are about 30 minutes in length, with some being shorter and some longer. Some sessions focus on relaxation of the whole body, while others deal with specific areas which may be causing pain or discomfort, such as back, neck, shoulders, legs and feet. Most people feel very relaxed, and may have relief from pain and tension. After a short time of feeling “sleepy,” some people feel an increase of energy which may last 2 to 3 days.

Occupational and Physical Therapy

Occupational and Physical Therapy begins on the day your child is admitted for the treatment of burns.

Therapies focus on:

  • Making the most of body movement.

  • Preventing loss of motion over burned joints.

  • Reducing scars.

  • Returning your child to his or her previous level of function.

A therapist from Occupational Therapy (OT) will see your child each day. OT’s provide stretching over burned joints through splinting and positioning. They also watch for scar formation and provide pressure therapy as needed. OT’s work to maintain muscle strength and motion. This involves play and activities of daily living such as dressing, eating and grooming. Physical Therapy (PT) will see your child each day to provide range-of-motion exercises to burned areas that involve joints. Depending on your child’s age and condition, this will include stretching, strengthening, walking and play activities.

What to Expect Day to Day:
At first the OT/PT sessions will be done in your child’s room. Later on, as your child heals, he/she can be taken to the OT/PT gym for therapy. These therapy sessions are very necessary to return your child to his previous level of activity. We understand how important it is for you to be with your child during treatment sessions. However, at times the therapies may be painful for your child and hard for you to watch. For this reason, we may ask you to leave for a short time and take a break during a treatment session.

Please feel free to tell your child ‘s therapist about your needs or concerns. We welcome any information that will help in the treatment of your child. We want to hear about areas such as pain control, ways to distract or calm your child, and ways to increase active involvement. This information will improve treatment and make it more enjoyable for your child.

Our goal by the end of your child’s stay is to make sure that you are comfortable with your child’s therapy and the treatment that will be needed at home. As your child heals, we will give you more information about dealing with scars, applying lotion, a home exercise program, splint schedules and outpatient OT/PT as needed. You will be asked to actively take part in your child’s care before discharge. Please feel free to ask your therapists about these topics at any time.


A psychologist, or psychology trainee, will meet with you and your child at least once during your hospital stay. The goal of psychology is to assess patient and family coping and adjustment and provide help as needed.

This might include questions about:

  • Trauma symptoms related to burn event.

  • Emotional or behavior problems (which may or may not be related to burn event.)

  • Family support.

A psychologist may also help with:

  • Pain during dressing changes.

  • Coping during other procedures.

  • Adjustment to any changes in body function or appearance.

Registered Dietitian

A registered dietitian (RD) specializes in the nutritional care of burn patients. A child who is burned needs much more protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals to aid in healing the burned wound area. The RD will look at your child’s diet and nutrition, and plan the best way to provide a high-calorie and high-protein diet. Often patients are not able to eat enough to meet their nutrient goals and a feeding tube may need to be placed. Feeding tubes are used to give a special liquid formula that helps with the healing process. The dietitian and the doctor will discuss whether a feeding tube is needed. If your child is not eating well at discharge you may be given a list of foods to help in the healing process.

School Teacher

Depending on the time of year that your child is in the hospital, he or she could be missing school work. Together with our in-house school teacher, we will arrange time to keep school work current. Our schoolteacher will work with each child ‘s school to develop a plan for school work. Based on your child’s medical condition, tutoring may be provided Monday through Friday.

Social Worker

social worker will meet with your family during your child’s hospital stay. He or she will collect information on how the burn injury occurred, who is living in the home, what community services you already receive and any other information that will help us determine what services would be helpful to you and your child.

If you qualify, services may include:

  • Connection to health insurance benefits and programs that may help to pay hospital costs.

  • Link to transportation resources.

  • Short-term counseling and link to counseling services when discharged from the hospital.

  • Link between the family and community agencies.

  • Helping families with visitation concerns.

  • Possible link with other community programs.

  • Referral to juvenile fire setter’s programs.

If you need to speak to your social worker at any time during your child’s hospital stay, please tell your health care provider and they will be paged.

Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic Recreation (TR) uses several fun activities to improve the mind, body, emotional and social skills. TR takes the goals of therapy and puts them into helpful and fun activities that can be used in the hospital and at home. Therapeutic Recreation Specialists offer children with burn injuries the chance to be involved in normal day-to-day life activities. They also work on developing skills to use in social and community settings.

Therapeutic Recreation goals for burns/trauma include:

  • Patients will take part in helpful activities that increase movement at burn sites.

  • Patients will develop healthy, safe ways to play while in the hospital and when returning home.

  • Patients will learn ways to cope with their burns when doing helpful activities both in the hospital and at home.

  • Patients will be encouraged to talk about their feelings.

Features of the treatment program:

  • Patients learn healthy ways to deal with their injury.

  • Patients and parents learn helpful, safe, leisure activities to use while in the hospital and at home.

  • Peer support, links to community education and resources for patients and their families.

  • TR works with OT/PT and Massage Therapy to focus on the child’s unique needs to aid in healing and recovery.