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Burns outpatient dressing clinics—guidance for parents


We have two nurse-led outpatient dressing clinics for children at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton. The same team of nurses work in both clinics.

At both clinics your child will be seen on a first come, first served basis. Please take a ticket from the ticket machine and take a seat in the waiting room.

The clinics tend to be very busy. We try to keep waiting times to a minimum but there is sometimes a short wait, depending on emergencies. We will give you a time slot for your appointment—please try and keep to it as much as possible.

What happens in the dressing clinic?

If this is the first time your child is attending, a full history will be taken—details of the accident, first aid etc. This assists in planning the most appropriate treatment.

Your child will have their dressings changed and the burn wound examined by an experienced Burns nurse. Occasionally we may ask one of the Burns surgeons to examine the wound but the majority of the time this is not necessary.

The burn wound will be redressed and you will be given a follow-up appointment in an outpatient clinic. Occasionally children will need to be admitted for treatment.

What do you do before the appointment?

Your child can eat and drink as normal. Please give your child some painkillers before the appointment—this usually means just as you are leaving home.

The recommended painkiller is paracetamol (Calpol®). Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

If your child is able to take ibuprofen (Nurofen®/Junifen®) you may administer this on its own instead of paracetamol, or together with the paracetamol. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Please remember ibuprofen must be taken with food.

General advice

Unless we advise otherwise, keep all your child’s dressings dry and intact until their appointment. This means avoiding baths, as it is very hard to keep dressings dry when bathing children.

Protein is very good for wound healing—we suggest high protein drinks and diet where possible. Examples of protein include milky drinks, cheese, fish, eggs, yoghurt and meat.

Often children do not feel like eating when they have a burn injury—do not worry, just continue with fluids.

You can give them regular painkillers (as described above) if you think they are in discomfort.


If you child exhibits any of the following signs/symptoms, we may need to see them before your booked appointment:

  • Fever (above 38°C)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Not drinking
  • Not having wet nappies/not passing as much urine as normal
  • ‘Not well’/‘not themselves’

The Burns Ward at Chelsea and Westminster is a 24-hour service, so you can call any time, day or night with any concerns on 020 3315 2500.

It is important that you call us, rather than attending your local A&E department or GP, as the symptoms may be related to the burn.

If you have any general enquiries regarding the treatment, you can call the dressing clinics directly during clinic hours.

Before you leave

The following items should be supplied to you:

  • Discharge summary
  • Medications (TTOs)
  • Appointment Card
  • Burns booklet
  • Dressing supplies/sling


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