Development of a new model of care for burn injuries in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Prof. Rebecca Ivers1,2,5, Dr.  Kate Hunter1, Dr. Tamara Mackean1,2, Ms.  Julieann Coombes1, Prof. Kathleen  Clapham3, Prof.  Roy Kimble4, Prof. Andrew Holland5,6

1The George Institute For Global Health UNSW, Newtown, Australia, 2Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Flinders University  , Bedford Park, Australia , 3Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia , 4Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, University of Queensland, South Brisbane, Australia , 5Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia , 6The Children’s Hospital at Westmead , Westmead, Australia


Background: Little research examines burn care in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, despite significant burden. The objective of this study was to describe the burden of burns, access to care, and outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with serious burns, and inform development of a new model of care.
Methods: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children under 16 years of age presenting to a paediatric burn unit in four states were recruited. Quantitative data were collected via participant interview and clinical data to capture outcomes and impact, including cost. Qualitative research and patient journey mapping was conducted to identify barriers to care. The study is governed by an Aboriginal advisory group and uses Indigenous methodologies as a frame of reference.
Results: 204 participants and their families were recruited and followed over 2 years; in-depth interviews with 76 clinical burn team members from 5 states, and 18 family members were conducted. Results highlight significant systemic barriers to accessing care, and significant personal and economic impact on families. Findings will be presented back to clinicians, peak bodies and patients/carers and a consensus based approach used to inform development of a new model of care.
Discussion: There are numerous systematic barriers to care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and the results of this study will inform development of a new model of care that explicitly considers the care of Indigenous children, and incorporates interventions for system wide cultural safety.


Rebecca Ivers is director of the Injury Division at the George Institute for Global Health, where she leads a team of 40 researchers, project managers and students. She is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and has Professorial appointments at the University of NSW, University of Sydney and Flinders University and is visiting Professor at UTS Sydney. Professor Ivers is an injury focused public health researcher with significant expertise in the design and conduct of randomised and pragmatic trials. Her research focus cuts across prevention and treatment of unintentional injury in Australia and globally and her work includes leading an extensive range of research programs on injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


ANZBA is a not for profit organisation and the peak body for health professionals responsible for the care of the burn injured in Australia and New Zealand. ANZBA encourages higher standards of care through education, performance monitoring and research.

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