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Supporting children with burns: Developing a UK parent-focused peer-informed website to support families of burn-injured children

Heath, Jennifer; Williamson, Heidi; Williams, Lisa; Harcourt, Diana


Jennifer Heath

Heidi Williamson
Associate Professor in Applied Health Research

Lisa Williams

Diana Harcourt
Professor in Appearance Research


© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Background: Children's burn injuries can have a significant psychosocial impact on parents. However, the stress involved in caring for a child following a burn can often go unrecognized and does not necessarily prompt help seeking by parents. Objective: It is common for adults to seek health-related support and information via the Internet. Many benefit from immediate and easy access to online psychological interventions. A prototype burn-specific, parent-focused, peer-informed, supportive website, designed to provide easy access to information and psychoeducation, was created and tested for acceptability. Patient involvement: Using a partnership-based method of website development, parents and professionals (clinical, academic and support organizations) were recruited and their particular expertise was acknowledged and valued. A participatory action approach was adopted to determine the acceptability of the website for parents/carers. Methods: 31 participants (9 parents, 22 professionals) tested a prototype version of the website. Data was collected using the eHealth Impact Questionnaire and the concurrent think-aloud protocol. Results: Parents and professionals had favorable opinions of the website. Parents’ ratings tended to be more favorable than professionals’, which was significant for the information and presentation. Participants’ thoughts were categorized into seven topics: need, structure/navigation, trust/relevance, language/comprehension, therapeutic content, mode of delivery, and suggested improvements. Discussion: Many practical and psychological barriers can prevent parents of burn-injured children accessing psychosocial support and contribute to a feeling of isolation. Participants felt that the website would be a valuable addition to UK pediatric burn care. The existence of an accessible resource could help to normalize parents’ experience of their child's injury and reduce their perceived isolation, although peer interaction is not provided by the website. Practical value: This online resource, hosting information and peers’ personal experiences, offers promising and exciting opportunities to empower parents whilst providing accessible supportive advice to encourage self-care and formal/informal support seeking when necessary.


Heath, J., Williamson, H., Williams, L., & Harcourt, D. (2019). Supporting children with burns: Developing a UK parent-focused peer-informed website to support families of burn-injured children. Patient Education and Counseling, 102(9), 1730-1735.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 2, 2019
Publication Date Sep 1, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 2, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 3, 2020
Journal Patient Education and Counseling
Print ISSN 0738-3991
Electronic ISSN 1873-5134
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 102
Issue 9
Pages 1730-1735
Keywords pediatric burn injury, parents, carers, psychosocial support, online intervention, website development, visible difference
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the author's accepted manuscript. The final published version is available here:


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