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Key points

This guideline is recommended for assessing and managing burns. It also lists injuries which are suitable for transfer to the state burns service at the Alfred Hospital.

Early management of burns patients aims to restore fluid loss, maintain adequate oxygenation, prevent heat loss and address pain management.

Patients with facial, neck and inhalation burns can have difficulty maintaining their airway and deteriorate rapidly, particularly when exposed to flame burns in an enclosed space. Any signs of oedema should prompt early intubation.

Supplemental warmed and humidified oxygen should be provided to all burns patients in the initial management.

Estimating % of total body surface area affected by the burns will help to guide fluid resuscitation.

Titrating fluid resuscitation to urine output goals will help to avoid under or over resuscitation.

Management of burns in older people may be more complex – see guideline.

We recommend using the Victorian Adult Burns Service guidelines

The images below are linked to easy-to-follow pathways of care for emergency patients presenting with burns, including:

  • Initial Management of Severe Burns
  • Initial Management of Small Burn Injuries
  • Victorian State Burns Service Transfer Criteria

Initial Management of Severe Burns Guideline Poster

Victorian State Burns Service Transfer Criteria Guideline Poster     Initial Management of Small Burn Injuries Guideline Poster   

 Burn depth characteristics guideline poster

Get in touch

Clinical Guidance Team
Safer Care Victoria

Version history

Due for review: June 2026

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