01:48pm Wednesday 11 December 2019

Helping children overcome burn trauma

Ms Maskell is a senior social worker in the Stuart Pegg Paediatric Burn Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane and sees first-hand the trauma, pain and distress a burn brings to a child and their family.

“This trauma and distress can continue throughout treatment and long into rehabilitation and reintegration due to the long-term physical and psychological changes that occur when a burn injury is sustained – for example, changes in appearance, trauma symptoms and the impact of societal expectations,” she said.

“Further research and clinical interventions are needed to help these children adjust and accept this traumatic experience and the future difficulties and triumphs that come with it.

“It was this desire to offer more to these children that drew me towards enrolling in my PhD.”

Ms Maskell’s research consists of a qualitative component exploring the identity development of children and adolescents who have sustained a burn injury and have subsequent burn scarring.

It also includes a multicentred randomised control trial investigating the impact using a cosmetic camouflage to cover scarring has on quality of life, self-concept, body image and social integration.

“To date it has been found that children and adolescents with burn scars have lower quality of life and higher behavioural problems than healthy children, and that the cosmetic camouflage has a positive impact on quality of life, behavioural problems and social integration.”

After completing her PhD, Ms Maskell would like to continue to further educate the medical world about the psychosocial and psychological impacts of burn injury, and provide specialised therapeutic support to these children and their families to assist them to cope and adjust positively in the long-term.

“I would like to continue researching this important area, hopefully as part of an international collaboration.

“I would also like to continue to work clinically to provide intensive and innovative clinical interventions to these children, adolescents and their families so they can live fulfilling and happy lives.”

Ms Maskell’s thesis entitled The Psychosocial and Psychological wellbeing of children and adolescents with burn scarring is supervised by Professor Roy Kimble, Associate Professor Peter Newcombe, Professor Graham Martin and Associate Professor Michele Foster.

Media: Jessica Maskell, email j.jameschadwick@uq.edu.au, phone 3346 4643 or Helen Burdon (Marketing and Communications, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences), email h.burdon@uq.edu.au, phone 3346 9279.

September 17 to 21 is Research Week 2012 at UQ, one of Australia’s premier learning and research institutions. For more information visit: www.uq.edu.au/research-week

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