Virtual Conference

Gail Maggioli

Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Republic of South Africa

Title: Unmasking’ the challenge of orofacial excercises


The lack of resources for burns rehabilitation within the context of the developing world necessitates the use of professional creativity and innovative ideas to ensure optimal care is achieved after a burn injury. 

Method: The International Society for Burn Injury (ISBI) invited therapists from around the world to describe their innovations to solve burn rehabilitation problems. These innovations were reviewed by an expert panel from ISBI. A total of 77 innovations were submitted for review, of which 71 (92%) were accepted for publication in Burns Open. 

Results: The present innovation contributes to the effective management of individuals who sustained facial burns. The innovation involves facilitating oro-facial therapy, which comprises active and passive facial exercises. These exercises are aimed at preventing contracture formation that may impair feeding, verbal articulation, and facial expression. The oro-facial therapy furthermore aims to facilitate improved aesthetics after sustaining a facial burn. These exercises are best carried out using face-to face demonstration by a speech-language therapist specialising in facial rehabilitation. The onset of the global COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic necessitated the increased use of face masks, which posed a significant challenge to patient management as removal of masks for purposes of demonstration would put both the therapist and the patient at risk. To overcome this challenge, a series of short videos were created to demonstrate oro-facial therapy exercises. These videos are readily accessible to the burn therapist at any time.


Gail Maggioli qualified as a speech-language therapist in 2010 from the University of Pretoria. Thereafter she worked at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital for over 9 years. During this time, she established the speech therapy services within the Adult Burns Unit (ABU), which at the time did not offer an appropriate service for facial burns rehabilitation. She conducted research on the emerging role of the speech-language therapist in the management of individuals with facial burn injuries and presented her findings at the South African Burns Congress in 2015. She obtained her master’s degree in 2016 and has now established her own practice working within the sub-acute rehabilitation sector.