Ms Amber Jones1, Mr Perry Judd2, Ms Michelle Cottrell2, Ms Anita Plaza2, Ms Andrea Mc Kittrick1, Dr Angela Chang3, Dr Clare Burns4
1Occupational Therapy Department, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Herston, Australia, 2Physiotherapy Department, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Herston, Australia, 3Centre for Allied Health Research, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Herston, Australia, 4Speech Pathology Department, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Herston, Australia
Background: Upwards of one-third of patients are discharged from the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Burns Outpatient Clinic due to non-attendance. This study aimed to explore patients’ perceptions of accessing Allied Health services via telehealth, as an alternative intervention model.
Methods: Surveys were distributed to patients receiving Allied Health services within the clinic over a four-week period. The survey evaluated five key areas including: patient demographics, burn injury management, travel arrangements, barriers to service access, and attitudes towards telehealth. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse responses.
Results: 48 patients completed the survey. 72.9% (n=35) patients resided outside MNHSS, travelling an average of 279 kilometres to RBWH. Almost 30% (n=14) of patients reported that they had missed or rescheduled a previous appointment. Finding a carpark (40%), taking time off work (32%) and travel expenses (18%) were identified as the biggest barriers to attending appointments. Whilst only three patients had previously used telehealth, almost 70% (n=33) were agreeable to telehealth as an alternative intervention model. 94% (n=45) reported they have access to an internet-enabled device, of which 87% (n=39) patients would accept a home-based telehealth appointment if appropriate.
Discussion: Survey results demonstrate that many patients find it difficult to access their clinic appointments. A high proportion of patients are willing to attend a telehealth appointment at their local facility or at home using their personal device.
Conclusion: These results justify the consideration of an Allied Health TeleBurns Clinic as a substitution model for patients managed through the RBWH Burns Outpatient Clinic.
Amber Jones is the Occupational Therapy Burns Team Leader at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Professor Stuart Pegg Adult Burn Centre. In her 15 years working in burn care, Amber has contributed to clinical research, and presented at several national and international burns conferences and workshops. In 2012, she undertook a tour of American burn centers, and gained valuable insight into burn rehabilitation practices for adults and paediatrics within a number of different treatment/funding models. In 2015, Amber was deployed to Cairns Hospital following the Ravenshoe mass casualty, to lead the occupational therapy response locally, and train the local therapists. She has also established an educational support and mentorship role with an occupational therapist who is setting up a therapy service within a burn centre in Nepal.