A wellbeing program to promote mental health in paediatric burn patients: Study protocol

Nicole Wickens, Lisa McGivern, Patricia de Gouveia Belinelo, Helen Milroy, Lisa Martin, Fiona Wood, Indijah Bullman, Elmie Janse van Rensburg, Alix Woolard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background One of the most traumatic injuries a child can experience is a severe burn. Despite improvements in medical treatments which have led to better physical outcomes and reduced mortality rates for paediatric burns patients, the psychological impact associated with experiencing such a traumatic injury has mostly been overlooked. This is concerning given the high incidence of psychopathology amongst paediatric burn survivors. Objectives This project will aim to pilot test and evaluate a co-designed trauma-focused intervention to support resilience and promote positive mental health in children and adolescents who have sustained an acute burn injury. Our first objective is to collect pilot data to evaluate the efficacy of the intervention and to inform the design of future trauma-focussed interventions. Our second objective is to collect pilot data to determine the appropriateness of the developed intervention by investigating the changes in mental health indicators pre-and postintervention. This will inform the design of future interventions. Methods This pilot intervention study will recruit 40 children aged between 6–17 years who have sustained an acute burn injury and their respective caregivers. These participants will have attended the Stan Perron Centre of Excellence for Childhood Burns at Perth Children’s Hospital. Participants will attend a 45-minute weekly or fortnightly session for six weeks that involves building skills around information gathering, managing reactions (behaviours and thoughts), identifying, and bolstering coping skills, problem solving and preventing setbacks. The potential effects and feasibility of our intervention will be assessed through a range of age-appropriate screening measures which will assess social behaviours, personal qualities, mental health and/or resilience. Assessments will be administered at baseline, immediately post-intervention, at 6- and 12-months post-intervention. Conclusion The results of this study will lay the foundation for an evidence-based, trauma-informed approach to clinical care for paediatric burn survivors and their families in Western Australia. This will have important implications for the design of future support offered to children with and beyond burn injuries, and other medical trauma populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0294237
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2 February
Early online date15 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


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