Exploration of outcomes of severe hand burn injuries from the perspectives of the consumers

Miss Andrea Mc Kittrick, Professor Louise Gustafsson, Dr Tenelle  Hodson, Dr Amelia Di Tommaso

1Royal Brisbane And Women’s Hospital, Herston , Australia


Burns injuries to the hands can impact how a person participates in daily activities and interacts with the environments around them. To date the specific impact and experiences of individuals living with hand burn injuries has not been examined in detail. The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions of outcomes and experiences of individuals with deep dermal/ full thickness hand burns.

Interpretive description was used to analyse twenty-three semi-structured interviews. The mean age of participants was 42.57 years and the mean TBSA injured was 18.56%. All participants were a minimum of 18 months post their burn injury. Each interview was audio recorded and transcribed verbatim by a transcription service. Interviews ran for 20-40 minutes.

The passing of time presented as an overarching element that influenced all three themes. The identified themes included: physical recovery, activities of daily living recovery, and psychosocial impact. Individuals described a process of recovering from their burn injury while learning to live day to day life with their hand burn injury and problem solving how to participate in daily tasks to maximise their independence. Individuals also described a simultaneous process of dealing with the emotional responses for themselves and of others.

It was clear from the themes identified that participants were still experiencing the impact of their severe hand burn injury months to years later, in a way that would not normally be identified by current outcome measures. Outcomes should be measured and reported in terms of performance rather than in terms of impairment. The overarching element of time suggests that an outcome measure that measures change over time may be an appropriate method for charting recovery.



Andrea Mc Kittrick is the Advanced Specialist Occupational Therapist in Severe Burn Injuries at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland in 2004. She attained a Masters in Hand Therapy via University of Derby, United Kingdom in 2015.Andrea is currently enrolled in a PhD through Griffith University focusing on hand burn outcomes. She is the current chair of the ANZBA Allied Health committee and is a casual academic at The University of Queensland and sessional lecturer at Australian Catholic University. She is passionate about collaborating to improve long term outcomes post burn injury.

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