Burn Unit Design-The Missing Link for Quality and Safety

Eduardo Gus, Stian Kreken Almeland, David Barnes, Moustafa Elmasry, Yvonne Singer, Folke Sjöberg, Ingrid Steinvall, Paul van Zuijlen, Heather Cleland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The relationship between infrastructure, technology, model of care, and human resources influences patient outcomes and safety, staff productivity and satisfaction, retention of personnel, and treatment and social costs. This concept underpins the need for evidence-based design and has been widely adopted to inform hospital infrastructure planning. The aim of this review is to establish evidence-based, universally applicable key features of a burn unit that support function in a comprehensive patient-centered model of care. A literature search in medical, architectural, and engineering databases was conducted. Burn associations' guidelines and relevant articles published in English, between 1990 and 2020, were included, and the available evidence is summarized in the review. Few studies have been published on burn unit design in the past 30 years. Most of them focus on the role of design in infection control and prevention and consist primarily of descriptive or observational reports, opportunistic historical cohort studies, and reviews. The evidence available in the literature is not sufficient to create a definitive infrastructure guideline to inform burn unit design, and there are considerable difficulties in creating evidence that will be widely applicable. In the absence of a strong evidence base, consensus guidelines on burn unit infrastructure should be developed, to help healthcare providers, architects, and engineers make informed decisions, when designing new or renovated facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2021

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