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Going home from the Ross Tilley Burn Centre: Discharge information

Click on the titles below to learn more about each topic. 

» Follow-up appointments

After being discharged from the burn centre, a burn follow-up appointment may be set up for you. Your follow-up appointment may be scheduled for any of the following methods:

  • Burn clinic, D7: Please see your appointment card.
  • Telemedicine: A coordinator will call you with an appointment at your nearest hospital. You will see and/or speak to your surgeon over a video screen.
  • Not needed: Call the burn centre or the surgeon’s office if you need. The doctor’s card with phone number is in your discharge package.

For any other future appointments, see your appointment card for details. 

» Wound care

Small areas of bleeding and/or scabs are normal. Before you change your dressing, take your pain medication and shower with soap (Dove or Ivory) and warm water as directed.

Your wound care will be provided through one of the following methods, as determined by your care team:

Burn Clinic

Bandages will be changed at your Sunnybrook Burn Clinic appointment. Take your pain medication before your appointment.

LHIN Home and Community Care (CCAC)

You will have wound care in your home or at a wound clinic near your home. If you have not met with the LHIN coordinator in hospital, you will get a phone call with information after.

Please make sure the team has your current phone number, discharge address, and an emergency contact.

Self-care

You and/or your family have been given supplies and taught to change your dressings as follows:

Burn/grafted burn skin
  • Shower, remove old bandage, and pat dry.
  • Apply in this order:
    • Greasy Gauze (e.g. Adaptic®/Jelonet®)
    • Normal Saline moistened gauze
    • Dry gauze
    • Wrap with roll gauze (Kling®)
    • Secure with tape
Donor site
  • Allevyn® (pink sponge)-leave intact and have this changed by the CCAC nurse or in Burn Clinic, as needed.
  • Xeroform® (yellow gauze) DO NOT pull off. It stays on your skin and lifts once wound is healed. Only trim Xeroform® that lifts off.
  • Xeroform® may have white gauze on top if wet.
  • The white gauze needs to be changed daily in this order:
    • Remove old gauze
    • Apply Normal Saline moistened gauze
    • Apply layer of dry gauze
    • Wrap with roll gauze

» Showering

  • Shower (no baths) once daily before dressing change
  • Use lukewarm water (not too hot or too cold)
  • Use mild unscented soap (such as unscented Dove or Ivory)
  • Pat (don’t rub) dry with towel

» For healed skin

After showering, and at least two times a day or more, apply unscented water-based moisturizing lotion (e.g. Professional Care Lotion/Vaseline). Do not use Vaseline Petroleum Jelly® or oil-based lotions (Read labels carefully).

When you leave the hospital, the burn team will give you lotion and tell you the best lotions to use.

» Face care

You and/or your family will have been taught face care. Please see information sheet for more information.

» Moisturizer

Apply lotion once a day and always after you shower.

Use an unscented water-based lotion (e.g. Professional Care Lotion®/Vaseline®).

» Heat and cold tolerance

It is normal to feel more sensitive to hot or cold.

You may need to change:

  • Your layers of clothing (less or more)
  • Your activity level
  • Time spent in that temperature or environment
  • Ask your surgeon or burn team if you have any questions

» Exposure to sunlight

Healing skin is sensitive to sun and can burn easily. This does NOT mean you need to stay indoors. Stay in the shade when you can.

Wear sunscreen on healed wounds and your unburned skin as you normally would.

Sunscreen should be water-based and a minimum of SPF 30. Put it on 30 minutes before you go outside and re-apply every 30 minutes. Wear protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat.

» Water blisters

Clear water blisters are normal. Do not pop them. Do not limit your activities.

» Itching

Itching is normal as your skin heals.

  • Try not to scratch, rub, or use hot water on your wounds
  • Try not to wear tight clothes over your wounds
  • Try to keep away from warm places
  • Apply unscented water-based lotion often
  • Tell your surgeon and/or burn team if itching continues

» Scar management

For leg burns, if you do not have a pressure garment, wear tensors when up out of bed.

Pressure garments

  • The longer you wear the garment each day, the better the effect. We recommend wearing garments 23 hours per day
  • Isotoner® gloves to be worn inside out
  • Hand wash and dry flat tensors, Tubigrip or Isotoners
  • Follow wearing schedule and care instructions
  • If your skin breaks down or blisters, clean and cover area with bandage and wait 1-2 days before wearing garments

Massage

Use water-based lotion to rub and massage for 30 seconds over healed skin as directed by surgeon/therapist.

» Exercise

  • Exercise is important; start slowly and do more as you are able (e.g. walking, swimming, light cardio, light weights if able)
  • Follow the handouts from your therapist
  • Do your exercises at least 4-6 times a day
  • Hold stretches for at least 30 seconds (the time of 1 TV commercial)
  • Your therapist will tell you if you are referred to outpatient (community) rehab

» Splints

Wear splints as directed by your surgeon or therapist.

» Nutrition

After you leave the hospital, eat a healthy balanced diet with regular meals, unless your surgeon or family doctor gives you other instructions.

Pain medications may cause constipation. Drink fluids and eat food high in fibre to help you have bowel movements (poo).

After you leave the hospital, you do not need to take supplements or special vitamins for your recovery unless your surgeon tells you.

» Pain management/medications

Please see brochure provided to you by your health-care team.

» Driving

You may be told not to drive for a while because of changes to your body from the burn, graft, or other health issues.

Some medications may make you sleepy and should not be taken if you are going to drive (e.g. opioids/narcotics such as hydromorphone etc. or other medications such as gabapentin or pregabalin etc.).

Please talk to your surgeon, family doctor, or pharmacist if you have any questions.

» Emotional support

It is normal to feel anxious or have changes in your mood as you cope with different stages of recovery.

If you want to talk with someone, please ask your surgeon and/or the burn team for more information. Support is available through social work, peer support with another burn survivor, or a referral to psychology or psychiatry. The Phoenix Society is also a good resource.

» Sexuality & intimacy

Medications and body changes from surgery may affect sexual comfort or performance. Please speak with your surgeon, burn team, or social worker if you or your partner have any questions.

» Body image

Changes to the body after a burn can be an adjustment for patients and/or families. Please speak with your surgeon, burn team, or social worker if you have any questions.


This resource was made with patient and family input.

When to seek help

» When to call 911

  • In an emergency
  • For chest pain or difficulty breathing

» When to call your family doctor/go to a walk-in clinic

For general medical issues or other health issues not related to the burn.

» When to call the burn centre

If you have:

  • Wounds that smell bad or have drainage that is new or different
  • Bleeding that does not stop on its own
  • New swelling or redness around wounds
  • Worse or new pain
  • Difficulty coping
  • Any urgent questions

Download a PDF version of our going home resource