LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville Hospital on Friday morning opened its newly renovated and expanded Burn Center, currently the only dedicated burn unit in the state of Kentucky.
Dozens of hospital staff and emergency service workers, including members of the Louisville Fire Department and Louisville Metro EMS, marked the occasion with a ribbon-cutting and celebration at the center.
The new Burn Center is on the hospital’s sixth floor, in 6 East, and holds 16 beds. The center was formerly housed on the hospital’s fifth floor, where it held six beds.
“What makes this space so unique is that from start to finish, it was specifically designed just for burn patients,” said Glen Franklin, M.D., a trauma surgeon and a professor in the Department of Surgery at the UofL School of Medicine. “It offers them things other areas of the hospital don’t have, as it was made just for them, by the people who take care of them. It’s special. ”
Lori Sipes, clinical nurse manager for the Burn Center, said the renovation marks 35 years of UofL Hospital having a dedicated burn unit. She said the expansion and renovation will help provide even better service to the community and state.
“We are expanding all of our services, from beds to staff to therapy, to offer even better care for patients and their families,” she said. “Everything has been improved and updated, and they have a new state-of-the-art area to be treated in.”
Sipes said the center has 36 critical care nurses and technicians, all of whom have specialized education and training in the care of burn patients and the most up-to-date methods for their care. Its dedicated physical therapist is the only wound specialist in Kentucky dedicated to burns.
Sipes said the center’s brand-new beds are the newest and best surfaces for patients, and each room has its own temperature and humidity control and heat lamps, which she said is important for burn patients as the skin is a primary method of thermoregulation. A new, larger hydrotherapy room with a shower system is also part of the new center.
Even the color palate and interior design is designed to be more soothing for patients and families, she said, with a sitting area in each room, cubbyholes to charge cell phones and dedicated room where families can conference with staff or members can be alone.
Among those in attendance Friday were Louisville Fire Department Chief Greg Frederick and Romaine Knight, a firefighter assigned to Engine 5 downtown at Floyd and Jefferson streets. Knight has firsthand experience in UofL Hospital’s Burn Center as a patient.
On Sept. 20, 2017, he suffered serious burns to his left hand and was admitted to the Burn Center. He was in the center’s intensive care unit for eight days, where he underwent skin grafts to his hand.
“They really have a good team there,” he said. “Everyone was exceptional. They were all so nice, from the nurses, to the technicians, to the plastic surgeons. And they have so much experience, which really helped alleviate my worries. They were able to explain what was happening, and what I could expect – the next day, the next week, the next month, the next year, and even the next couple of years.”
After surgery, he went immediately into physical therapy, which he continued at the UofL Physicians Outpatient Center after he was released from the hospital.
“They did everything they could to ensure I didn’t lose function of my hand, which was vital for me,” he said. “They told me that they would do whatever it took to have the best outcome.”
Today, he said he has virtually normal function of his hand.
“I really, really appreciate everyone’s service.”
Just before the new Burn Center’s opening, UofL Hospital was re-verified as a Level I Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons, recognizing its dedication to providing the highest quality of trauma care for all injured patients. UofL Hospital is one of just two adult Level I Trauma Centers in the state of Kentucky.