Burn patients’ pain experiences and perceptions

Burn patients’ pain experiences and perceptions

A new study from HIPRC & UW Medicine looks at burn patients’ pain management education.

By: Alexandra de Leon Date: March 23rd, 2021

Burns are painful injuries associated with a long recovery. Some patients may not be receiving sufficient pain management education to optimize their experience and recovery after their injury.

Researchers at UW Medicine’s Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center (HIPRC), The University of Washington School of Medicine, University of Washington School of Social Work, Regional Burn Center at Harborview Medical Center, and Scripps College found variability in pain experience and pain-management challenges in burn patients. This study was published online February 15, 2021 in Burns Journal.

Twenty-one patients ages 22-73 years old were surveyed. Results found:

  • 56% of inpatients reported constant pain
  • 33% of inpatients reported severe to very severe average daily pain
  • 25% of outpatients reported severe to very severe average daily pain
  • 25% of outpatients reported no pain at all
  • No inpatient participant endorsed no pain

“These results show the variability in pain experiences in burn patients,” says lead author, Emma Duchin, BA. “These surveyed results should help us inform and improve treatment options and education.”

Many patients who reported a positive experience with a burn care team primarily focused on their experience receiving pain education from a provider, whereas negative experiences focused on wound care events.

Results of this study found most patients want or need more information on burn recovery in a variety of formats.

“This study highlights the many reasons for gaps in patients’ knowledge about burn pain,” says author Tam Pham, MD. “Some patients may not have received sufficient information, others may not have understood the information provided, regardless there’s room for improvement.”

Duchin and other researchers on this study agree that improvement in the breadth and methods of education provided for patients might positively effect pain experiences for patients.

Funding for this project was supported in part by the NIH grant for INSIGHT Student Research Program at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (R25 HD094336).

Other authors on this paper include, Megan Moore, PhD, MSW, University of Washington School of Social Work and from the Regional Burn Center at Harborview Medical Center, Gretchen J. Carrougher, RN, MN, Emily K. Min, Debra B. Gordon, RN-BC, MS, ACNS-BCFANN, Barclay T. Stewart, MD, PhD, Jody Sabel, and Anne Jo-Nes, PA.

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