GLOW Study: Longitudinal study to assess psychosocial contributors to mental health outcomes after burn injury

Sonia Terhaag1, Heather Cleland2, Birgit Pfitzer3, Lynda Katona4, Steven Ellen5, Andrea Phelps6, Meaghan O’Donnell7

1 Phoenix Australia, 161 Barry St Carlton VIC 3053, Sonia.terhaag@unimelb.edu.au
2 Victorian Adult Burn Service, The Alfred, Commercial Road, Prahran VIC 3181, H.Cleland@alfred.org.au
3 Victorian Adult Burn Service, The Alfred, Commercial Road, Prahran VIC 3181, B.Pfitzer@alfred.org.au
4 Psychological Services, Alfred Health, The Alfred, Commercial Road, Prahran VIC 3181 L.Katona@alfred.org.au
5 Psychiatric Services, Alfred Health, The Alfred, Commercial Road, Prahran VIC 3181, s.ellen@alfred.org.au
6 Phoenix Australia, 161 Barry St Carlton VIC 3053, ajphelps@unimelb.edu.au
7 Phoenix Australia, 161 Barry St Carlton VIC 3053, mod@unimelb.edu.au

Limited well-designed research has evaluated psychological and social factors that impact on recovery after burn injury, even though burn injuries are associated with complex psychological, social and physical long-term outcomes. The main aim of this longitudinal study was to investigate the psychosocial factors that may influence disability, quality of life and psychiatric morbidity in burn injury patients. Consecutive admissions to the Alfred Hospital Victorian Adult Burn Service with burns of Total Burned Surface Area (TBSA) of 20% or less were recruited over 18 months, and followed up over 6 months. A total of 119 patients provided consent to participate in the study. Participants had a mean age of 39.3 years (SD = 16.2), and 75.6 % of the sample was male. The mean TBSA was 7.2% (range = 0.5 – 20.0%), and the most common burn source were flame burns.  Patients complete assessments at three time points: at baseline during their acute admission, and at 3 months and 6 months follow-up. Assessments included self-report questionnaires and structured clinical interviews to assess psychiatric morbidity. Self-report questionnaires assessed symptoms of anxiety and depression, anger, pain, social support, appearance perceptions, alcohol use, quality of life, and disability. 34.6% of participants reported a history of depression, and 9.6% a history of PTSD. By evaluating the progress of recovery and what factors may contribute to outcomes, this study aims to provide much needed insight into the complex interplay of factors associated with recovery after burns in order to inform current and new interventions and resources available.

Key Words

Burns; trauma; mental health; PTSD

Biography

Ms Terhaag is a PhD student at Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health and the University of Melbourne. She also works at Phoenix Australia as a Research Assistant, working on various projects including a RCT evaluating early intervention for traumatic injury patients. She previously completed her undergraduate and honors studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada, where her research included working on a RCT on MBCT for recurrent depression, as well as a study looking at psychosocial predictors of mortality in CABG patients.

About ANZBA

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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