Camp Cooee: educating and engaging with clinicians about the long-term and life-long issues facing paediatric burns survivors

Dr Alan Pham1, Sandra Spalding1,2, Cheri Templeton1,3

1The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Burns Research Institute, The Burns Unit and the NSW Severe Burns Injury Service, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, Australia, 2Department of Social Work, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, Australia, 3Department of Physiotherapy, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, Australia

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Burns Unit has been running a paediatric burns survivor camp for the last 25 years, one of the longest-running camps of its kind in Australia. The camp is consistently staffed by a mixture of burns survivors, physiotherapists, social workers, nurses, and doctors. It offers burns survivors, a marginalized subgroup of the paediatric patient population, the opportunity to engage with each other and potentiates the development of long-lasting social support networks. It also allows front-line clinicians to understand first-hand the long-term consequences of their actions and decisions made acutely. Our presentation will briefly touch on the history of the camp, its aims, the key sessions that we feel are the cornerstones of each camp to help patients elucidate and begin to process complex psychosocial issues, behavioral management protocols, risk management strategies that other organisations interested in organising a similar experience could implement, and the selection and training process we use for adult-aged burns survivors who express an interest in becoming a camp mentor. We will focus on testimonials from mostly medical practitioners as well as other clinicians who have attended camps over the years, the insights they gained into the long-term impacts of their clinical decision-making and actions, and how these new insights have influenced their day-to-day practice.

Dr. Alan Pham is currently the burns registrar at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, which is the referral center for all paediatric burns in New South Wales, Australia. His interests include safe, efficient, and consistent burns care delivery in both an inpatient and outpatient setting as well as the long-term care of patients with significant hypertrophic scarring as a result of their burn injuries. Current research interests include RCT’s comparing Suprathel, Biobrane, and Acticoat in the mid-dermal burn as well as the use of PDL and CO2 lasers to treat problematic scars in paediatric burns patients.

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