Issue date: 19 March 2003

Members of the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) at the University of the West of England have won a Healing Foundation Fellowship worth £80,000 to study the psycho-social needs of people affected by burn injuries.

The Fellowship has been established following a report by the National Burn Review (July 2000) which highlighted several areas of weakness in service provision, particularly the lack of psychological and social support for patients and their families following a burn injury.

The project, entitled ‘Establishing the psycho-social needs of people affected by burns: towards evidence based psycho-social support programmes following burn injuries’, is a two year research project that will look into how support for burn injured people can be improved.

UWE researcher Claire Phillips has spent the past two years looking at the psychosocial impact of burn injury through a predominantly cross sectional sample of people with burn injuries. She said, “The Healing Foundation Fellowship is timely as its aims exactly match my recent research objectives. I want to develop this work further by looking at changing needs of those affected by burns over time. I will be interviewing people with burn injuries and their families at home and also new burn in-patients and their families on the wards.

“We aim to report the different psycho-social needs of in-patients and out-patients with the objective of working towards a framework for psycho-social support programmes based on evidence rather than ‘best guesses’.”

The Fellowship is particularly welcomed by the Centre for Appearance Research as it compliments the Centre’s aims. Centre Director and research partner, Professor Nichola Rumsey, said, “At the heart of the research conducted by the Centre is the aim to make a difference to the lives of people who are visibly different. Burns patients can experience considerable difficulties in relation to their appearance. Many need support strategies to help them deal with the changes to their appearance.

“The research will benefit people with burn injuries and their families by increasing methods of practical and emotional support. Nursing staff will also benefit from the recommendations which will result from the research as often they are aware of their patient’s psycho-social needs but unsure of how to deliver appropriate support. This research will enable us to move towards appropriate training for nursing staff to help meet these needs.”

The Healing Foundation is a new national fundraising charity established to champion the cause of people living with disfigurements through research.

John Hart, Chief Executive of the Healing Foundation said, “We are delighted to award this fellowship to UWE’s Centre for Appearance Research. There is an urgent need for a programme of research which focuses on the psychosocial aspects of burn injury in addition to physical treatments and therapies. We are confident that this project will make significant inroads towards designing, implementing and evaluating appropriate methods for promoting psychosocial rehabilitation for burn patients.”

This work is supported by the Healing Foundation - Registered Charity No 1078666.

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