U.S. ARMY INSTITUTE OF SURGICAL RESEARCH
"Optimizing Combat Casualty Care"
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center Progressive Care Unit nurse, Ashley Roman, left, and Capt. Mollie Christiansen, PCU Officer in Charge, cut a ribbon to open the new Close Observation Bay Jan. 8 as PCU Assistant OIC and USAISR staff look on.

U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center Progressive Care Unit nurse, Ashley Roman, left, and Capt. Mollie Christiansen, PCU Officer in Charge, cut a ribbon to open the new Close Observation Bay Jan. 8 as PCU Assistant OIC and USAISR staff look on. Photo by Steven Galvan

Burn Center fills gaps between BICU, Progressive Care

By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
02 FEBRUARY 2016


A few days after having a ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new Close Observation Bay at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center Progressive Care Unit at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, burn patients were admitted to put the new capability into action. The new COB will be manned by two nurses around the clock and will serve as a step-down unit for the Burn Intensive Care Unit where patients will be closely monitored and provided care when needed.

According to Andrew Wallace, the PCU Assistant Officer in Charge, the COB is designed for burn patients who require the most care and monitoring in the unit but do not need to be admitted to the Burn Intensive Care Unit.

“This means that we can keep the sickest patient in one location to be managed and cared by a separate team of nurses,” said Wallace.

Sixteen nurses from the PCU volunteered to be assigned full-time to the COB. Wallace also stated that the COB is not only beneficial to the patients but to the entire staff as well.

“The nurses in the COB will be able to provide more complex burn care and treatment that is not normally provided in the PCU thus increasing their knowledge and skillset,” he said.

The other benefit is that nurses who are caring for the other patients in the PCU can concentrate on discharging patients and providing education to them and their families on burn care and treatment at home.

“This means that we can give them more information on how to adapt to their lives with their burns and show them how to care for their wounds,” Wallace said. “We also let them know what they can expect in regards to the short and long term care for their injuries.”

Wallace added that designing the COB was a team effort involving the Burn Center leadership and the PCU staff that will be an overall cost-saving measure.

“It costs more for patients to stay in the BICU,” said Wallace. “We’re not only helping to keep costs down, but we’re also helping patients transition into the PCU which shows progression. This lets them know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel and they’ll be going home soon.”