Elderly patients discharged home from the emergency department with minor burns

Amy R. Ehrlich, Suruchii Kathpalia, Yael Boyarsky, Alan Schechter, Polly Bijur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe the risk factors, etiology and referral patterns of elderly patients treated for minor burns in an urban emergency department (ED). Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted of persons aged 65 years and older who were treated for a minor burn and discharged home from the ED. Medical records were reviewed for 77 burn patients that presented over a 6-year period. Results: Burn patients had significant co-morbid medical illness. The etiology of the burns was scalds (58%), contact (27%) and flame (12%). Sixty-eight percent of the burns were cooking related. Heating pads, curling irons or hot pipes accounted for the majority of contact burns. Three percent of burn patients were referred to a home care agency for a home safety evaluation at the time of discharge from the ED. Conclusion: Cooking-related activities accounted for the majority of minor burns in this series. Common consumer items or environmental hazards were responsible for most contact burns. Elderly patients seen in the ED with minor burns were rarely referred to a home care agency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-720
Number of pages4
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Cooking
  • Elderly
  • Minor burns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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