UF burn surgeon wins research competition

Winston T. Richards, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of acute care surgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine, recently won first place in a burn research competition.

Presenting at the 22nd Annual Southern Regional Burn Conference, Richards outlined predictions in a lack of resources for elderly burn patients as Baby Boomers hit age 65 and older, creating a large increase in our nation’s older population.

“Predicting resource utilization of burn patients in the Baby Boomer era” evaluated the needs of older burn patients and found that while length of hospital stays tend to be the same as younger patients, older patients need more post-hospital care.

Richards said the older group, age 65 and over, when compared to the younger group, age 18 to 64, more often required the need for home health care and rehabilitation facilities.

“Our point is that since the population over 65 is going to increase in the next couple of years – becoming almost 26 to 30 percent of the total population of the state of Florida – that we are going to need to be prepared with regards to post-hospital care for our burn patients in this age group,” said Richards, adding that the need would come for more infrastructure of skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation centers.

He also touched on other issues that will need to be addressed including nursing shortages, a prediction of a shortage of trauma surgeons in the near future, and the shift in more people depending on Medicare with yet the same size workforce contributing to the system.

Richards received a $200 award and was invited to present at next year’s meeting. The conference was held this November in Shreveport, La., and co-sponsored by the American Burn Association and the Southern Medical Association.