The Centre for Conflict Wound Research officially opened at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on Tuesday 13th November 2018, in a venture generously funded by the Scar Free Foundation (SFF). On Tuesday the 1st of October, SFF’s newest team members, Research Officers Eleanor (Ellie) Carden and Isabelle (Izzy) Brown, accompanied by SFF Head of Research Funds, Charlotte Coates, joined us at the CfCWR here in Birmingham for a tour of the Centre and to get a better feel for how our exciting research is conducted and what our staff undertake on a day-to-day basis.
To kick off the day, Ellie and Izzy visited Prof Janet Lord who gave them a tour of the University of Birmingham Research Labs in the Institute of Inflammation, and Aging and described the CfCWR studies that the group were currently working on. Next, the team visited the Burns, ICU, and Trauma Wards in the QEHB Hospital. The team were first met by Sister Liz Shale, manager of the Burns Ward and research nurse, Ron Carrera. Sister Shale guided our visitors around the ward while explaining about the different types of treatments for burn injuries and gave detailed explanations of how the unit operates. Next, Ron took the team in to the amazing temperature-controlled rooms which are kept at around 30-32 °C (that’s pretty hot!). This is to ensure that in patients with severe burns, their bodies don’t have to work so hard to keep them warm.
To complete the tour of the main Centre areas, the team were greeted by Dr Richard Williams and Prof Tony Metcalfe at the Centre for Conflict Wound Research Labs, in the Institute of Translational Medicine. Dr Williams and Prof Metcalfe took the team around their chemical engineering labs before demonstrating some of the concepts and materials they are investigating, such as drug delivery systems that will hopefully help new medicines to reduce scarring upon application.
At the end of the day’s tour, Ellie explained that… “For me, I found it amazing to see the direct integration of scientific research and clinical care. Being able to see the labs on site and also the patient’s unit in such close proximity really brought home how vital and important the research is, and the potential it has to make a difference to people’s lives. The burns unit was eye-opening as I hadn’t before realised the need to have specialised temperature controlled rooms and the impact this has on burn care. It was great to see the incredible work that is happening by all involved.”
Izzy added “I was amazed at the quality of burn care that the hospital could deliver – from using specially heated rooms and to the specifically adapted rooms on the ward to make patients as comfortable as possible. The fact that medical research undertaken in the hospital is able to directly impact the burn care on the wards due to the proximity of the research labs is incredible, and also is not something I have previously known to be possible in hospitals. The staff on the Burns Ward and in intensive care were so knowledgeable and interesting, and really reinforced the expertise of the hospital. Overall, it was really exciting to see the amazing progress the teams were making in improving burn care for patients.”
We were delighted to host Charlotte, Ellie and Izzy and hope to see them again in the near future!