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Adult Burns Centre (Burns)




Ward telephone: (08) 70745076
Referral telephone: 0435051631

About us

The Adult Burn Service at the Royal Adelaide Hospital is the tertiary referral centre for burn injuries in patients over 16 years old for the entire state of South Australia, as well as the Northern Territory, western NSW and western Victoria; representing a catchment area of 2.4 million square kilometres.

The service is built on 5 ‘pillars’; prevention and pre-hospital care, in-hospital clinical service, comprehensive education, translational research and burn-injury awareness/fundraising.

To ensure that our service is open, accountable, efficient and effective, we subject ourselves to external independent scrutiny by the Verification Committee of the American Burn Association and American College of Surgeons every three years. We invited and began preparing for this triennial audit process in 2006 and have successfully verified in 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018. This standard is held by only 60 US Burns Services and, other than 2 Canadian Services, we are the only non-US recipients.

Clinical care

The clinical service is provided according to a series of surgical and nursing protocols which standardise the care we deliver, and allow for the introduction of new techniques and materials by rigorous comparison against the protocols’ ‘gold standards’. The protocols were first introduced in 2004 and have been updated and amended frequently since.

Research outcomes

Significantly, an important amendment has been the abolition of the criteria which signify that a burn-injury is non-survivable. This has been possible thanks to our translational research program, which has yielded two novel burn care products based on a biodegradable polyurethane platform). When used, these products serially negate the need for the skin graft and thus render inapplicable one of the principal non-survivability criteria (>80% TBSA full-thickness burn injuries).

Length of stay, pre and and post hospital care

When considering what factors impact the length of a patient's stay in hospital, it was discovered that their pre-admission management was important. Additionally, whether their discharge destination is metropolitan or rural has major implications for our ability to send patients home who have complex dressing materials or requirements.

Pre admission care education

In 2002, we began to address these issues by embarking on a series of education packages, aimed at rural medical and nursing practitioners, programs that quickly attracted allied health, ambulance, CFS and even SAPOL attendance.

Concentration on first aid and emergency management, with emphasis on the range of treatment options offered at RAH, improved both the speed of referral and the physical state of the patients when they arrived.

Post discharge care training

In addition, some of those nurse practitioners sparked the genesis of the Link Nurse program – rural nurses trained at RAH to manage complex dressings and thus aiding discharge of rural patients at least to their home town. This was later amalgamated with a Link Therapist program to ensure that their specialised therapy needs were also being met.


Patients may be referred to the Adult Burns Service by a variety of sources including:

  • General practitioners
  • Specialists
  • Internal clinics
  • Emergency Departments
  • Medical officers within the hospital
  • Private rooms
  • Other hospitals
  • Other agreed health care professionals as per the hospitals guidelines.

Burns referrals will be triaged by the Burns Consultant, Burns Fellow, Burns Clinical Practice Consultant/Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Service Coordinator/Senior Registered Nurse.


For further information, contact

COVID-19 Information

Find out more about COVID-19, including visitor restrictions, changes to our operations and information on where you can get your COVID-19 vaccine.

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