Understanding burn injuries in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children: Protocol for a prospective cohort study
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Introduction: Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia have higher risk of burns compared with non-Aboriginal children, their access to burn care, particularly postdischarge care, is poorly understood, including the impact of care on functional outcomes. The objective of this study is to describe the burden of burns, access to care and functional outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia, and develop appropriate models of care. Methods and analysis: All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged under 16 years of age (and their families) presenting with a burn to a tertiary paediatric burn unit in 4 Australian States (New South Wales (NSW), Queensland, Northern Territory (NT), South Australia (SA)) will be invited to participate. Participants and carers will complete a baseline questionnaire; followups will be completed at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months. Data collected will include sociodemographic information; out of pocket costs; functional outcome; and measures of pain, itch and scarring. Health-related quality of life will be measured using the PedsQL, and impact of injury using the family impact scale. Clinical data and treatment will also be recorded. Around 225 participants will be recruited allowing complete data on around 130 children. Qualitative data collected by in-depth interviews with families, healthcare providers and policymakers will explore the impact of burn injury and outcomes on family life, needs of patients and barriers to healthcare; interviews with families will be conducted by experienced Aboriginal research staff using Indigenous methodologies. Health systems mapping will describe the provision of care. Ethics and dissemination: The study has been approved by ethics committees in NSW, SA, NT and Queensland. Study results will be distributed to community members by study newsletters, meetings and via the website; to policymakers and clinicians via policy fora, presentations and publication in peer-reviewed journals.
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