Outcomes important to burns patients during scar management and how they compare to the concepts captured in burn-specific patient reported outcome measures

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Pressure garment therapy (PGT) is an established treatment for the prevention and treatment of hypertrophic scarring; however, there is limited evidence for its effectiveness. Burn survivors often experience multiple issues many of which are not adequately captured in current PGT trial measures. To assess the effectiveness of PGT it is important to understand what outcomes matter to patients and to consider whether patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) can be used to ascertain the effect of treatments on patients’ health-related quality of life. This study aimed to (a) understand the priorities and perspectives of adult burns patients and the parents of burns patients who have experienced PGT via in-depth qualitative data, and (b) compare these with the concepts captured within burn-specific PROMs.

We undertook 40 semi-structured interviews with adults and parents of paediatric and adolescent burns patients who had experienced PGT to explore their priorities and perspectives on scar management. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed. The outcomes interpreted within the interview data were then mapped against the concepts captured within burn-specific PROMs currently in the literature.

Eight core outcome domains were identified as important to adult patients and parents: (1) scar characteristics and appearance, (2) movement and function, (3) scar sensation, (4) psychological distress, adjustments and a sense of normality, (5) body image and confidence, (6) engagement in activities, (7) impact on relationships, and (8) treatment burden.

The outcome domains presented reflect a complex holistic patient experience of scar management and treatments such as PGT. Some currently available PROMs do capture the concepts described here, although none assess psychological adjustments and attainment of a sense of normality following burn injury. The routine use of PROMs that represent patient experience and their relative contribution to trial outcome assessment versus clinical measures is now a matter for further research and debate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1682-1692
Number of pages11
Issue number8
Early online date12 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Burn scar management
  • patient-reported outcomes
  • qualitative research
  • interviews


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