J Burn Care Res. 2023 Jan 23:irad007. doi: 10.1093/jbcr/irad007. Online ahead of print.
Early recognition of contractures can lead to a more targeted therapy regimen, potentially preventing range of motion losses and improving function and quality of life. Cutaneous functional units allow therapists to explain motion limitations and formulate patient-specific treatment plans. Evidence-based research demonstrates the potential of using these principles to improve the current standard of care. Still, the consistent use of these principles has been slow to diffuse through burn care. Occupational and physical therapists were surveyed to determine the degree to which CFU principles are being integrated into clinical practice. Respondents (297) were occupational therapists (52%) and physical therapists (49%) working in burn units (81%) in North America (70.7%). Most respondents (78.4%) report familiarity with cutaneous functional unit principles. Of those familiar, most respondents reported their knowledge (66.7%) and ability to apply (65.7%) at an intermediate level or greater. A slight majority (59.3%) responded that the concepts influenced their practice, while 40.7% said the concepts did not influence their practice. 40-69% of respondents correctly answered knowledge questions, but only 15% of respondents correctly completed cutaneous functional units identification questions. Respondents (77%) report barriers, including difficulty incorporating into practice, time constraints, and the need for more education. Results suggest that diffusion can be improved by developing tools to assist therapists in understanding and incorporating cutaneous functional units’ principles.
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