This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Employment After Burn Injury. Nicole S. Gibran, MD, Researcher, discusses The Importance of Staying Active.

SABINA BRYCH: We are able to tell the patient that “Yes you had an injury, but you are not sick. We want you to be active, do everything that you can. At this point, at this point, your limitation is to keep your wounds clean and dry. But other than that, you can really do pretty much anything else you want. So if you have any projects around the house, please do them. Don’t sit at home. Don’t watch television. Don’t spend your time resting. We want you to build your stamina and get to the point that uh, you can actually do your work when you go back to work.”

NICOLE GIBRAN: My mantra, when I talk to patients, is: The more you do, the more you’re going to be able to do. And so if a patient is getting back to work, but isn’t quite ready, I tell the patients, “I want you to go home, and I want you to do everything you might do in the workplace, but do it at home. So I don’t want you being a couch potato. I want you in the workshop. If it’s a male patient, I might with a little bit of a glint in my eye, say, “You know what? Your wife, I’m sure, has a Honey-Do list. Start tackling that Honey Do list.” If I have patients with arm burns, I’m going to say, “You know what? I don’t know whether your kitchen needs to have your ceiling painted, but you need to paint your ceiling. You need to make your wife a new bookcase. You need to do something that’s going to keep you active, keep you working, keep your skill set up. You’re just not ready to do it in the workplace, because you may still be on narcotics during the early time after discharge from a hospital, or you may actually be a little bit deconditioned. If you’ve been in bed for a week, it’s going to take, on average, three weeks to get back to your previous strength. And so, if you’re in the hospital for two months, it’s going to take six months to get back to what your stamina was prior to the injury.” And I think that patients do get frustrated. They get out of the hospital and they expect that everything’s going to return to normal. Well in fact, they need to, it’s like going to the gym. They need to build up their strength again, they need to build up their stamina. They need to return to their previous muscle mass, and that takes some time.

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