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Approach to burn treatment in the rural emergency department.

OBJECTIVE: To outline an approach to the assessment and initial management of patients with burns in the rural emergency department setting. Three mnemonics are presented that can be used for both the assessment and the initial management of patients with burns in rural settings.

QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: Current and local guidelines compiled by a plastic surgeon were reviewed to develop a systematic approach to the treatment of patients with burns. PubMed and other databases were also searched for current literature on emergency care of patients with burns.

MAIN MESSAGE: Burn injuries are a common reason for presentation to the emergency department. However, the care of patients with these injuries can vary substantially depending on geographic location, provider training, and hospital resources. Classification of burns, fluid resuscitation guidelines, dressings and wound care, indications for referral, and pain management are discussed.

CONCLUSION: Using a systematic approach may help improve burn injury outcomes for patients and provide practitioners with a step-by-step framework for the management of patients with burns in rural settings.

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