To coincide with National Burns Awareness Day on 17 October 2018, the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) is launching Supporting Children with Burns, a website to support the parents and carers of children who have experienced a burn injury.
The website, developed as part of PhD research undertaken by Dr Jennifer Heath, is the first of its kind. It draws together research and personal testimonies to encourage parents and carers to take care of themselves, as well as supporting their child.
Dr Heath said: “My research identified a real need amongst parents for a one stop shop, providing support and advice about living with burn injuries. The experience is extremely stressful but can also be isolating for parents.
"This resource could be particularly important for those who are feeling as though they are alone in what they are coping and dealing with. There are a whole raft of barriers, which prevent parents from accessing all the support they need. One of the aims of this website is to normalise the experience, and guard against the risk of misinformation.”
Approximately 7,500 children in the UK access specialist burns treatment each year, and many more are treated by A&E departments.
The website has been built with extensive input from parents who took part in Dr Heath's research. One of these parents said: “I think it's really good because you don't think about yourself. You're not important when your child is not well. So, thank you very much!”
Professor Diana Harcourt, Director of the Centre for Appearance Research at UWE Bristol said: “The Centre for Appearance Research has been researching the psychosocial impact of burn injuries for more than 20 years. It has become apparent that, for many reasons, parents of children who have had a burn injury often do not have access to the support that could be available to them.
"Often they don't know any other parents who have been in the same situation, and many are left to work things out for themselves. This website will be incredibly valuable in normalising parents' experiences, as well as encouraging them to access support.”