Burn resuscitation, including titration of fluids and administration of colloids, is often driven by physicians’ orders. Inconsistencies in burn resuscitation cause overresuscitation, which has adverse consequences.
Retrospective chart reviews were completed to evaluate fluid resuscitation and complications for 12 months before and after development and implementation of a nurse-driven burn resuscitation protocol.
Before implementation of the protocol, results at 24 hours after injury indicated that 58% of patients were overresuscitated, had a serum level of lactate of at least 2 mmol/L (100%), and had complications (pulmonary edema 20%, abdominal compartment syndrome 7%, acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome 30%) within the first 5 days. Two outcomes differed from before to after implementation of the protocol: serum level of lactate at 24 hours (t37.8 =2.38, P =.007) and central venous pressure at 48 hours (t31 =2.27, P =.03). After implementation of the protocol, no patients had abdominal compartment syndrome develop.
Implementation of the nurse-driven burn resuscitation protocol improved nurses’ awareness and assessment of fluid status during resuscitation and improved patients’ outcomes.