Improving health literacy and shared decision making between clinicians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander paediatric burn patients.

Ms Hayley Williams1,2, Dr Bronwyn Griffin1,3, Dr Kate Hunter4, Professor Kathleen Clapham5, Professor Rebecca Ivers4, Professor  Roy Kimble1,2

1Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, 2Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 3School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, 4The George Institute of Global Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 5University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia


Background: Paediatric burns care can be overwhelming and impact on the patient and family’s ability to acquire and retain important information. Caregivers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with burn injuries have indicated strong desires for more detailed information and engagement in decisions regarding their child’s treatment. Burns clinicians have a vital role to ensure patients and families understand their treatment and are able to participant in knowledge sharing and decision making. However, little research has explored burn clinician’s understanding of their role and ability to develop health literacy among patients and families.

Methods: Burn clinicians providing treatment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children will be interviewed directly following the children’s appointments. ‘Thinking aloud’ sessions involving unfiltered verbal sharing of thoughts, followed by five-itemed exit interviews will be used to explore burn clinician’s information sharing and perceptions of patient and families understanding. Grounded theory approaches will be used to analyse burn clinicians understanding of the development of health literacy skills.

Results: Data collection and analysis has commenced, and emerging categories will be presented.

Discussion: Burn clinicians have a responsibility to provide patients and families with clear, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate health information. However, few resources and supports are available to aid them to do this effectively. These results will inform the next phase of the study in which burn clinicians will be invited to discuss solutions that will inform the development of resources/interventions to support them in their role of developing health literacy among their patients and families.


Hayley Williams is an Aboriginal researcher with family ties in Tingha and Inverell in north-eastern NSW. Hayley has a Bachelor of Social Science and Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology, and is currently completing a Doctor of Philosophy exploring the emotional impact of burn injuries on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and the cultural safety of burns care. Hayley is passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and has a particular interest in emotional traumas and the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adolescents.


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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