FILM REVIEW - RESERVOIRS OF STRENGTH:  A Burn Recovery Film



Reprinted From:


        JOURNAL OF APPLIED REHABILITATION COUNSELING

        by MARTIN G. BRODWIN, Ph.D., C.R.C.  Fall 1990 Issue.

        Rehabilitation Counseling Education Program Coordinator, California

State University, L.A.


The purpose of this video is to familiarize the viewer with the burn recovery process and to illustrate the strength severely burned individuals have throughout the process and when re-entering society. These goals are met and surpassed. Although about one specific disability, the video can be generalized to all disabling conditions. Adjustment to disability is illustrated very succinctly. It is a difficult slow process that is not achieved by everyone recovering from disability. The ability to make accommodations in one's lifestyle with the goal of achieving a "new self" is aptly portrayed in this powerful presentation. RESERVOIRS OF STRENGTH contains personal experiences of burn survivors including interviews with them, their friends, and family. Interviews are also conducted with the past president of the American Burn Foundation, physicians, nurses, therapists, and an attorney. The interviews provide not only important but an emotional dimension allowing the viewer to realize the full impact of the recovery process. There are approximately two million burns occurring every year. One hundred thousand of these are serious enough for the person to see a physician; ten thousand of these need to enter a burn center for extensive treatment. The majority of burns (70%) occur in the home, most often in the kitchen. This is important information for all of us to know, both from a professional standpoint and from a personal one. As a general rule, a person will spend one day in the hospital for every one percent of the body burned, i.e. a person with a forty percent burn will spend about forty days in the hospital. The video takes us into a burn center showing treatment of a patient recently brought into the emergency room. The scene is well presented and does not dwell on difficult to observe material. This is true for the entire video. The section called "What makes patients get better" describes the unique multi-disciplinary approach involving treatment team members, the patient, and the family. The closeness of the family and patient to the treatment team is highlighted. Patient's emotional, spiritual, and physical needs are treated in a holistic way. Patients speak of their fear of loss of independence, their fear of re-entering society, and their fear of being in public. The video emphasizes the importance of changing society's perceptions of burn survivors. This video was filmed at several major burn centers including: The Total Image Center and School Re-Entry Program, Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center (Downey, California); the University of South Florida Burn Services (Tampa, Florida); Harborview Medical Center (Seattle, Washington); the Burn Center of Southern California-Sherman Oaks Community Hospital (Sherman Oaks, California); Tampa General Hospital (Tampa, Florida); and other locations. Aside from the outstanding content, the film has excellent technical production in terms of sound, music, and visualization. RESERVOIRS OF STRENGTH is recommended for all rehabilitationists. The film portrays psycho-social aspects of rehabilitation in a more articulate way than any other film, book, or resource I have seen. Its principles apply to all disability groups. It should be included in all undergraduate and graduate rehabilitation counselor education programs.


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