Investigating strategies to improve access to rehabilitation post burn injury for rural paediatric patients: Feedback from Winston Churchill Fellowship study tour

Miss Stephanie Wicks1

1The Children’s Hospital At Westmead, Westmead, Australia

The New South Wales (NSW) Paediatric Statewide Burn Injury Service (SBIS) provides specialised treatment for patients from across NSW accounting for >800 000km² and a population of approximately 7.5 million people. Many patients seen by the service travel considerable distances to access specialised scar management therapy in Sydney. From 2011-2015, a total of 4467 patients were treated at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead for a burn injury (NSW SBIS & ANZBA database). Of these patients, 40% resided out of the Sydney metropolitan area. Recovery from a burn injury is a lengthy process and distance from a specialised burn unit adds significant emotional and financial burden to the already traumatised child and their family. In particular, rural patients with hand burns were over represented (43% of the total population of hand burns 2011-2015) which further makes management challenging due to complex nature of managing scarring of the paediatric hand. With this significant clinical issue in mind, I applied for and was granted the Dr Lena Elizabeth McEwan and Dame Joyce Daws Churchill Fellowship for 2016. This fellowship will allow me to travel to a range of specialised burn units across the USA, Canada and Europe to investigate the strategies used by these centres to optimise opportunity for therapy to be provided for rural burns patients in their local area health services. This presentation will detail the key fellowship findings and recommendations which may assist therapists in improving access to therapy locally for rural patients.

Stephanie is a senior Physiotherapist with over 7 years experience in the management of paediatric burn injuries. She was awarded the Dr Lena Elizabeth McEwan and Dame Joyce Daws Churchill Fellowship for 2016 and has just completed this fellowship looking at strategies to improve access to therapy post burn for rural patients.


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