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A qualitative exploration of psychosocial specialists’ experiences of providing support in U.K. burn care services

Guest, Ella; Griffiths, Catrin; Harcourt, Diana


Ella Guest
Occasional Associate Lecturer - HAS HSS


Introduction: A burn can have a significant and long-lasting psychosocial impact on a patient and their family. The National Burn Care Standards (2013) recommend psychosocial support should be available in all U.K. burn services, however little is known about how it is provided. The current study aimed to explore experiences of psychosocial specialists working in U.K. burn care, with a focus on the challenges they experience in their role.
Methods: Semi-structured telephone interviews with eight psychosocial specialists (2 psychotherapists and 6 clinical psychologists) who worked within U.K. burn care explored their experiences of providing support to patients and their families.
Results and Discussion: Thematic analysis revealed two main themes: burn service-related experiences and challenges reflected health professionals having little time and resources to support all patients; reduced patient attendance due to them living large distances from service; psychosocial appointments being prioritised below wound-related treatments; and difficulties detecting patient needs with current outcome measures. Therapy-related experiences and challenges outlined the sociocultural and familial factors affecting engagement with support; difficulties treating patients with pre-existing mental health conditions within the burn service; and individual differences in the stage at which patients are amenable to support.
Conclusion: Findings provide an insight into the experiences of psychosocial specialists working in U.K burn care and suggest a number of ways in which psychosocial provision in the NHS burn service could be developed.


Guest, E., Griffiths, C., & Harcourt, D. (2018). A qualitative exploration of psychosocial specialists’ experiences of providing support in U.K. burn care services. Scars, Burns & Healing, 4, 1-10.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 28, 2018
Publication Date Jan 1, 2018
Deposit Date Mar 9, 2018
Journal Scar, Burns & Healing
Print ISSN 2059-5131
Publisher SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Pages 1-10
Keywords burn injury, health professionals, psychology, psychosocial adjustment, psychosocial support, qualitative, visible difference
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This study was conducted as part of a program of research funded by Restore Burn and Wound Research, together with The Children’s Burns Research Centre and Dan’s Fund for Burns. The Children’s Burns Research Centre, part of the Burns Collective, is a Scar Free Foundation initiative. The views expressed are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the funding bodies. The publication of this research was funded by the Katie Piper Foundation
Corporate Creators : Centre for Appearance Research


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