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About the Program

Pediatric burn services, a collaboration of Mass General for Children and the Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston, specializes in burn and wound care treatment of children with burns and related injuries, including:

  • Acute child burns
  • Smoke inhalation injury
  • Reconstructive or restorative surgery as a result of “healed” burns
  • Scarring resulting in contractures or interfering with mobility of the limbs
  • Scarring and deformity of the face and hands
  • Caustic injuries of the esophagus
  • Frostbite
  • Non-burn conditions requiring pediatric wound care including toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome, abrasion/friction injuries, traumatic degloving, purpura fulminans, epidermolysis bullosa, congenital hairy nevi and pemphigus vulgaris

Pediatric burn patients are treated by MassGeneral Hospital for Children surgeons at the adjoining Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston, the only pediatric hospital in New England verified as a Level I (highest level) burn center by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and the American Burn Association.

Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston is a 30-bed pediatric burn hospital, research and teaching center. The Boston hospital is one of three burn hospitals operated by Shriners Hospitals for Children, an international health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs. Children up to age 18 with orthopaedic conditions, burns of all degrees, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment at no charge—regardless of financial need.

Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston’s mission is to excel as the premier pediatric burn service in the world, providing comprehensive, high-quality care to children with burn injuries.

Medical Staff

The burn care team includes burn surgeons, plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, subspecialty pediatricians, psychiatrists, orthopaedists and other subspecialists. The surgeons and physicians are active staff of Mass General for Children and active faculty of Harvard Medical School. The acute and reconstructive surgical services work closely together to provide seamless pediatric burn and wound care from initial resuscitation through long-term rehabilitation.

Nursing Staff

Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston nurses are burn-care experts. The nurses are highly trained to provide care that results in optimal outcomes for our pediatric burn patients. An individualized competency-based orientation is provided to all new employees, including classroom time and one-to-one hands-on training with an experienced preceptor. The collaboration and expertise of the medical staff and nursing staff with patients and families enables our team to devise a burn care treatment plan that will provide optimal outcome and healing for the patient.

Family Services and Care Coordination

At Shriners, Family Services and Care Coordination serve children and their families during and after hospitalization. Family Services includes licensed clinicians who assist with the adjustments families may face during a child’s burn care treatment. Social workers provide individual and family counseling during inpatient and clinic visits. They help families understand and develop coping strategies to deal with the social, emotional and psychological impact of illness. The team also includes a care coordinator who is either a registered nurse or licensed social worker.

Psychiatrists and psychologists provide counseling to burn patients when it is needed. These experts help patients on the road to emotional recovery and healing. Rehabilitation therapists include both physical and occupational therapists. Patients are assigned a primary therapist upon admission who provides exercise, splinting and positioning to optimize full movement. As the child heals, the therapist sets up an exercise program to strengthen and stretch muscles and joints. The therapist continues to treat the child through rehabilitation and return to home and/or school. Therapists also follow the child in clinic to provide additional exercises and scar control measures such as massage, pressure garments, silicone gel and custom face masks.

Other members of the team include child life, recreation and music therapists who provide procedural support, diversion activities, return-to-community outings, medical play, operating room tours and coping strategies. A therapeutic playroom is staffed daily and children on isolation are visited regularly.

School teachers provide individual and group instruction both in a classroom and at the bedside. They also coordinate a school re-entry program for children returning to school for the first time after an injury and for those changing schools.

Corrective make-up is offered weekly during the reconstructive clinic to help soften the appearance of any scars.

Related Pediatric Burn Research

Two floors of Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston are dedicated to research. Pediatric burn and wound care projects currently underway include, among others, skin replacement technology, metabolic responses to burn injuries, and the development of novel therapies, diagnostics and devices through bioengineering.