Current psychosocial care of burn patients: Screening and support provision across ANZBA burn centres

Dr Jessica Maskell1, Dr Alex De Young2, Ms Martha Druery3, Associate Professor Dale Edgar4, Ms Yvonne Singer5

1 Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, Children’s Centre of Health Research UQ, Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital Level 7, 62 Graham Street, South Brisbane, QLD, 4101,
2 Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, Level 7, Centre for Children’s Health Research, University of Queensland, 62 Graham Street, South Brisbane, QLD 4101,
3 Burns, Trauma and Critical Care Research Centre UQ, c/- ICU Admin, RBWH Qld 4029,
4 Burn Injury Research Node, The University of Notre Dame Australia, 19 Mouat St, Fremantle, 6160, WA; State Adult Burn Unit and Fiona Wood Foundation Fiona Stanley Hospital, Level 4, 11 Warren Smith Drive, Murdoch, 6153, WA;
5 Victorian Adult Burn Service, The Alfred, Melbourne VIC 3004,

The focus of burn care and research has moved towards improving the understanding the psychosocial impact of burn injury. Burn survivors have increased risk of a number of negative psychosocial sequelae including posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicidal ideation, substance use, social isolation, social disadvantage, homelessness and unemployment.

To gain a better understanding of the psychosocial baselines and development of screening for burn patients during acute care; and the psychosocial support teams that are available to burn patients in Australian and New Zealand burn centres; the BRANZ (Burn Registry of Australia and New Zealand) Psychosocial Screening Quality Indicator working group conducted a survey of all burn centres in Australia and New Zealand to determine:

  1. The composition of disciplines within psychosocial burn teams in major burn centres
  2. The current psychosocial referral and screening processes of burn patients
  3. The use of psychosocial screening tools to screen burn patients for psychosocial risk factors and need for psychosocial care.

Twenty-four health professionals from a range of Australia and New Zealand burn centres responded. This presentation will present the descriptive results. The results highlight the inconsistencies and lack of consensus in psychosocial care and support available across burn centres. This presentation will also focus on the need for collaborative approaches to develop standard psychosocial screening tools for burn centres as well as the provision of multi-disciplinary, consistent and dedicated psychosocial teams including but not limited to social work, psychology, and psychiatry.

Key Words

Psychosocial screening, psychosocial support team, psychosocial care


Dr Maskell has worked clinically in the field of paediatric burns and trauma for over 10 years.  Dr Maskell is also an accomplished researcher with a number of peer reviewed articles and conference presentations. Her present research program focusses on the psychosocial aspects including health-related quality of life and living with altered appearances for children and young people, particularly those with burns and trauma related injuries as well as the long term psychological trauma and psychosocial risk factors for burn survivors and the development and testing of psychosocial interventions for this population.


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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