Each year, approximately 130,000 people present at A&E with burns injuries, and 10,000 are admitted. This leaves about 120,000 who will be treated as outpatients, mainly by practice and community nurses.1 An additional 250,000 people also present to primary care with burns.2
The assessment of a burn needs to consider the extent and site of injury, the cause and the depth of the burn.
Burns that require IV resuscitation are those more than 15% of total body surface area (TBSA) in an adult and 10% TBSA in a child,3 but it is less clear what TBSA is considered reasonable for a non-complex burn. However, the general consensus is that less than 5% TBSA constitutes a non-complex burn.3
It is recommended that the Lund and Browder chart is used to assess TBSA, because it can be used for both adults and children and is more accurate than using Wallace’s Rule of Nines (Figure 1).4
Phone apps offer another way of assessing burns, and the Mersey Burns app has been found to be as accurate as Lund and Browder.5 But care must be taken if using apps as they are unregulated and more studies examining their accuracy are needed.