Original Research

Evaluation of an occupational therapy led Paediatric Burns Telehealth Review Clinic: exploring the experience of family/carers and clinicians

AUTHORS

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Debra Phillips1
Grad Diploma in Burns and Trauma Rehabilitation, Occupational Therapist

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Lauren Matheson2
BOccThy (Hons), Occupational Therapist

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Tilley Pain3
PhD, Principal Research Fellow

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Gail A Kingston4
PhD, Assistant Director Occupational Therapy *

AFFILIATIONS

1, 2, 4 Occupational Therapy Department, Townsville Hospital and Health Service, PO Box 670, Townsville, Qld 4810, Australia

3 Allied Health Governance Office, Townsville Hospital and Health Service, Townsville, Qld 4810, Australia; and College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia

ACCEPTED: 6 October 2021


early abstract:

Background/Aim: Children with deep-partial or full thickness burns often require complicated post-surgical care and rehabilitation, including specialist Occupational Therapy (OT) intervention, to achieve optimal outcomes. Those from rural and remote areas rarely have access to these services and must travel to a tertiary referral hospital to access follow up, placing them at higher risk of complications and poorer outcomes. The OT-Led Paediatric Burn Telehealth Review Clinic (OTPB Clinic), based at Townsville University Hospital (TUH) was set up to address this inequity. The aim of this study was to investigate the experience of both family members and clinicians in using the OTPB Clinic.
Methods: A qualitative approach, guided by interpretive phenomenology was used. Eight family members and six clinicians participated in semi-structured interviews conducted via phone or telehealth. Thematic analysis was used to identify key themes.
Results: Four major themes were derived through thematic analysis: continuity of care; family centred care; technology; and building of rural capacity.  
Conclusion: Family and clinicians confirm benefits of a telehealth service for delivering care to rural and remote children post burn injury. The results show this expanded scope OT-led telehealth model provides quality patient centred care and expert clinical advice within local communities and builds the skill and capacity of local clinicians. Areas for service enhancement were uncovered. This telehealth model can be translated to other clinical subspecialties across Australia.