The Hidden Scar - Esther's Story - Fiona Wood Foundation

The Hidden Scar - Esther's Story

Found in: News

Esther at the time of recording the video was 15 years old, enduring 11 operations to her hand since she was 4 years old after a campfire accident.

She shares more in this video.

Esther is just one of many paediatric patients whose experience highlights the impact of burns injuries on mental wellbeing and the need for psychosocial care. 

We know our research and treatments to minimise the scar and maximise physical recovery has made real impact. Now what about the hidden scars?

We know that burns scar the mind as well as the body. We need to invest in programs to heal the mind. Psychosocial care is the psychological and social support provided to patients, families, friends, and everyone who supports the burn patient in their recovery.

Research by our team into adult resilience after burn (Martin et al. 2016) and into child/parent resilience after burn (McGarry et al, 2014) demonstrates both the need for good psychological support and the potential that patients show for good recovery. Evidence suggests that a holistic approach to burn care, including early and sustained attention to psychosocial needs can help positive adaptation and recovery from trauma.

Esther is part of our 'burns family' and together we are working to create new programs and improve clinical care that can support their physical and mental wellbeing. 

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Our response - current need
1. Animations and factsheets - for childhood burn

The multidisciplinary burn care team at Perth Children’s Hospital have identified the need for parental support in the burns ward and the burns outpatient clinic in different media that will reach a wider demographic. There are four initial areas of specific concern:

• Talking to your child about their burn • Coping with your child’s burn

• Burn dressing changes • Dealing with questions, comments and stares

We will produce short animations and accompanying factsheets that addresses each of these areas. The animations will be culturally diverse, and versions of the factsheets would be available for indigenous and non-indigenous groups.

The 30 second animations will be suitable for distribution via social media, for embedding into the online modules, & our website and YouTube. The animations would feature characters who would model how a parent can act in these situations in the best way to support their child.

The factsheets would be available to hand directly to parents/carers on the burns ward or in burns outpatient clinics, with some discussion between the health care practitioner (medical, nursing or allied health teams) and parents.

2. Online education - LMS - for adult burn patients

We will develop an online self-paced training program for patients that addresses psychosocial care for burn patients. This program teaches burn care staff, patients, parents, families, and friends how to recognise distress signals and provide knowledge, techniques and skills of how to respond to patients’ psychological needs.

The online education program - Learning Management System (LMS) will be hosted and administered from our website.

Adult learning principles will be used to develop the mixed-mode training package. The rationale for each module will be clearly articulated because adult learners need to know the importance of the information and how it will benefit them to motivate learning and retain information. Information will be delivered in small bites to allow important concepts to be understood, recapped and reviewed. Self-reflection will be encouraged so that learners will consider how the new information fits with their existing knowledge and how it can be applied to their work context.

The goal of the project is to maximise psychological recovery, quality of life and resilience after burn.

Help us continue to achieve our vision - "Scarless Healing - in mind and body".

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