Burns are among the most painful on-the-job injuries and national data has shown that nearly 50 percent of adult burn patients do not return to work two years after injury. A full 28 percent never return to work.

In contrast, a recent study in the Journal of Burn Care & Research showed that 93 percent of workers with work-related burns who were treated at UW Medicine Regional Burn Center at Harborview returned to work on average 24 days after injury.

Accordingly, the state Department of Labor & Industries and Harborview Medical Center are announcing a new Center of Excellence for medical care for burns.

 “Getting the right care at the right time is crucial for these catastrophically injured workers,” says Joel Sacks, director of L&I. “We hope to make their recovery better and a little easier by improving access to specialists.”

“By coordinating care with providers who understand burn injuries, we facilitate physical and psychological recovery,” says Dr. Nicole Gibran, director of the Regional Burn Center at Harborview Medical Center, part of University of Washington Medicine.

The research attributes dramatically improved outcomes to the broad support the worker receives from employers and workers’ compensation claims staff, and to the specialized and comprehensive burn care at Harborview.

More information on the new program for streamlined care of catastrophic injuries is on the web.