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What makes VCU Health Evans-Haynes Burn Center nationally recognized by the American Burn Association?

The Evan-Haynes Burn Center is one of only 39 burn centers in the nation – and the only one in Virginia – to be nationally verified to treat both pediatric and adult patients.

Hospital waiting room with sign that says Evan-Haynes Burn Center. The VCU Evan-Haynes Burn Center has been nationally verified by the American Burn Association since 2011. (VCU Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

By Leigh Farmer

While no one plans for a burn-related injury, it is good to know that one of the best burn centers in the country sits in downtown Richmond, Virginia.

The VCU Health Evans-Haynes Burn Center is a Level I comprehensive burn center for both adult and pediatric patients. It has been nationally verified by the American Burn Association (ABA) since 2011 and remains the only burn center in the commonwealth with this designation after its most recent re-verification in January of 2024. Only 77 burn centers in the United States meet the verification standards set by the ABA. Of those, only 39 are nationally verified for both adult and pediatric medicine.

You may be wondering: What does this designation mean when it comes to treatment and recovery for a patient? And why is this important for people who have been lucky to avoid burn injuries of any kind?

The bottom line: whether a person is dealing with injuries from a fire, chemical burn, electrical burn or car crash, they should rest assured that the care team at the Evans-Haynes Burn Center will provide them with comprehensive care.

We spoke with Michael Feldman, M.D., medical director of the Evan-Haynes Burn Center and a professor of surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, to learn more about his team’s unique care approaches for patients who come to VCU Health.

In general, what services make an American Burn Association verified burn center the top choice for care?

The American Burn Association takes several factors into consideration during the verification process. Quality and safety in patient care, regional education and outreach, injury prevention, and innovative research are all important elements it reviews.

At the Evans-Haynes Burn Center, each patient is considered a unique case and is cared for by a curious team of professionals. We use the word “curious” because this team is always striving to learn more. Together, they represent more than 300 years of collective burn center experience. As a result, our doctors believe that even the most challenging cases have solutions.

“Every case is unique,” Feldman said. “We use a team approach that evaluates each one on an individual level, to assure the best outcome for each patient.”

A thorough assessment of a patient’s mental and physical injuries is essential for success in recovery. The burn center is known for its holistic approach and state-of-the-art medical equipment. This means the patient is surrounded by a care support team trained to handle the emotion and physical damage of a severe burn.

What are the most common injuries patients are treated for at the Evans-Haynes Burn Center?

Although there are a variety of burns that can bring a person into the center, there are a few very common injuries the care team tends to see time and again. For adults, it’s burns from fires or what we call flame burns. For children, scald burns are most common.

It’s hard to estimate how long a person will need to be treated at the burn center. Feldman says depending on the complexity of the burn injury and the patient’s other medical conditions, the longer a patient will need to stay in the hospital or continue with outpatient care.

What makes the Evans-Haynes Burn Center stand out from other burn centers in the commonwealth?

Beyond the fact that it is the only nationally verified Level I burn center for adults and pediatric patients in Virginia, it has longevity. It is the oldest civilian burn hospital in the United States and treats more than 550 patients per year on average. That means the experience found among this VCU Health clinical team is unmatched.

“There is always something more we can do,” Feldman said. “As a burn center, we are continuing to evolve to provide the most innovative treatment.”

That includes the latest and greatest for the youngest of patients. VCU Health’s Level I pediatric trauma center is proud to partner with the Evans-Haynes Burn Center to provide care to children.

How does Evans-Haynes partner with other agencies in the commonwealth to ensure patients receive the best quality care?

Community outreach efforts created and facilitated by the burn center help to mitigate potential injury.

“Community doctors, nurses, therapists, and paramedics – they are all part of the team,” Feldman said. “Sharing best practices in burn medicine and aligning everyone in the emergency services process means that when an accident happens, we are ready to respond immediately, together. The ABA verification takes this type of teamwork into consideration.”

Beyond first responders, the burn center’s outreach program provides fire prevention education to local schools and childcare facilities. The team also reaches out to local firefighters to train them on how to treat acute burn injury and smoke inhalation.

“The sooner treatment can begin, the better the outcome,” Feldman said.

How does Evans-Haynes provide continuing care for its patients after they’ve left the hospital?

Recovering from a burn takes time because of a number of complicating factors. There are so many debilitating secondary issues that can arise from trauma.

Our national verification from the American Burn Association should stand as a beacon for burn survivors who are looking for complete, holistic care. From the onset of injury, our team of therapists and doctors is developing comprehensive care plans for each patient. Once a patient can leave our critical care unit, or if the burn is not complex enough to need the higher-level care, our surgeon-supported outpatient clinic provides a continuity of care. Rehabilitative services provide highly trained physical and occupational therapists to restore range of motion to our patients.

Mobility and continuing wound care are important, but so is healing from the mental trauma of a burn. Annually, the burn center hosts Burn Survivor Sunday. This event is a chance for burn survivors and their families to connect to others in the same position.

“The chance for families to meet peers who have been through the same trauma brings comfort,” Feldman said.

This event also provides these survivors the opportunity to reconnect with their care teams and the first responders in a non-clinical environment.

It's the details and individual care that have continued to lead the team of experts at the Evans-Haynes Burn Center to earn national recognition.

Learn more about the VCU Health Evan-Haynes Burn Center