A severe burn can be one of the most painful injuries that a human body can suffer, both physically and emotionally. For many families, the difficulty in finding access to long-term support services can add to their burden as they work to heal the physical and emotional scars. As survival rates climb over 96% (American Burn Association) in U.S. Burn Centers, there is a greater need for long-term recovery services to meet the physical and emotional needs of burn survivors and their families. This is the message that more than 900 burn survivors, their families, caregivers, burn care professionals and firefighters will share with the world at the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors® 26th annual Phoenix World Burn Congress® on October 22 to 25 at the Hilton Anaheim in California.
The Phoenix Society, which hosts Phoenix World Burn Congress, has been leading the way to change this reality. Since 1977, the Phoenix Society has provided crucial information, resources and peer support to those impacted by burn injuries so they can live full, happy and productive lives. Recent research supports the positive impact that long-term recovery resources and social support have on the outcomes for burn survivors. Imagine being the only child in school or the only family in town who has experienced a burn injury. The Phoenix Society works closely with allied organizations, health care professionals and the fire industry to develop and provide long-term recovery and support programs across North America.
One example of evolution in the area of long-term recovery programming is the growth of Phoenix SOAR®, an acronym for Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery®, the Phoenix Society’s hospital-based peer support program. Just ten years ago, the Phoenix SOAR program was getting underway and our lead sponsors were some of the first to implement this hospital based program in California. Now the number of burn centers in California that provide survivor peer support has doubled, joining 64 other centers across the country who are providing critical programing supporting long- term recovery of thousands.
Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors | 1835 RW Berends Dr SW | Grand Rapids, Michigan 49519 | 800-888-2876
Twenty to thirty years ago, those like Angel Almazon of Lake Elsinore, California, who was injured in 2008, most likely would not have survived. With improved medical care provided by burn centers, he did survive. He also was fortunate to find a growing support community to help him with the emotional recovery. He was sponsored to attend his first Phoenix World Burn Congress in 2012 and says “the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors was one of the organizations that was there for me to help with the emotional recovery.”
“The survivor community is committed to ensuring that every burn survivor and their loved ones have the necessary support and resources they need to recover and live their lives to the fullest,” said Amy Acton, Executive Director, Phoenix Society. “We have worked with many in the community to support individual survivors and families and have built partnerships with the burn centers, firefighters and community leaders to make lasting change – not just here in California but throughout the country. Our experiences in working with families who have experienced and are surviving devastating burn injuries has strengthened our resolve to continue to improve access to these types of resources throughout the country because “survival is not enough.”
Phoenix World Burn Congress is one of the most important events of the year for burn survivors and their families. It is an opportunity to share experiences, increase knowledge about recovery and learn about the growing burn support network.
This year’s lead sponsors include UC Irvine Health Regional Burn Center, Community Regional Medical Center’s Leon S. Peters Burn Center and Tyco. Anaheim Fire & Rescue will be serving as host fire service agency assisting with conference logistics including coordinating Southern California fire personnel to personally welcome survivors and their families at the local airports.
“It is an honor and privilege to be a lead sponsor of Phoenix World Burn Congress,” said Dr. Victor Joe, trauma surgeon and medical director of the UC Irvine Health Regional Burn Center. “For more than 35 years, our goal has been to expand the care and resources available to those affected by a burn injury. Our surgeons, nurses, therapists and staff are crucial to the healing of physical and emotional scars but we believe the true healing for a burn survivor continues after leaving the hospital. Our partnership with the Phoenix Society has been important in meeting that goal.”
“Phoenix World Burn Congress is an invaluable resource of information and support for burn survivors and their families and we are honored to partner with them on this event,” said Joe, noting that Phoenix WBC attendee Angel Almazon was treated at UC Irvine and participates in its survivorship programs.
“Community Regional’s Leon S. Peters Burn Center is honored to sponsor Phoenix World Burn Congress,” stated Sandy Yovino, director, Burn Services, at Community Regional. “Burn survivors and their family members from around the world are able to share their experiences, provide support to others with injuries, and learn for their burn recovery. We want to thank the Phoenix Society for their continued mission dedicated to empowering anyone affected by a burn injury.”
During the four-day conference, sessions will cover topics ranging from social challenges such as dealing with anxiety and psychological pain after hospital discharge to a young adult program helping survivors ages 18 to 25 build confidence, foster personal growth and enhance communication skills. A special youth and family program for children 7 to 17 years old will help family members learn how a burn injury impacts the entire family. Burn survivors can also attend a private creative cosmetics and color analysis consultation. In addition, survivors can gain knowledge about advocacy roles they can play to raise awareness about burn prevention programs. A special Walk of Remembrance will be held October 22, 2014 to pay tribute to the lives lost from burn injury.
For more information, or to view a copy of the program brochure including the workshops, bios and schedule of events, visit www.phoenix-society.org/wbc2014/.