Population Health Research - current project

Understanding the impact of burn injury in the Australian population

Burn injury is preventable; however, it is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and can be one of the most traumatic injuries among people of all ages. The most obvious impact of burn injury is on the skin; however, basic scientific and clinical research has shown profound systemic inflammatory responses after burn injury that lead to wide-spread changes, not only in the bone marrow and the immune system, but also in other organ systems that includes the cardiac, renal, nervous and musculoskeletal systems. These responses may occur after both minor and moderate burns.

The overarching aim of the Western Australia Population-based Burn Injury Project is to provide high quality data on the long-term health impacts, hospital utilisation and costs, and spatial patterns of burn injury that will make significant local, national and global contributions to burn care, prevention, education and policy.

This program of research has four main research objectives

  • to assess the long term health impacts (including cardiac, cancer and mental health conditions) experienced by burns patients and compare with those who have experienced a “non-burn” injury hospitalisation and also people from the general with no record of injury hospitalisations.
  • to estimate the economic cost of hospital care associated with acute and long term burn injury management in the paediatric and adult burn patient populations.
  • to examine factors related to burn-related readmissions
  • to examine spatial patterns of burn injury and access to health service delivery across the geographically diverse regions of Western Australia.

This project uses Western Australian population-based linked health data and incorporates data of all persons hospitalised for burn injury in Western Australia (1980-2012), and two comparator groups: firstly non-burn injury patients and, secondly, a control group (no injury). Health data sources accessed for this project includes the Western Australia Data Linkage System (Hospital Morbidity Dataset, Emergency Data, Cancer Register, Death Register and Mental Health In- and Out-patient Datasets, Trauma Registry), and the Royal Perth Hospital and Perth Children's Hospital Burns Minimum Datasets.


Back to top