Ensuring that the outcome domains proposed for use in burns research are relevant to adult burn patients: a systematic review of qualitative research evidence

Jonathan Mathers*, Naiem Moiemen, Amy Bamford, Fay Gardiner, Joanne Tarver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background
There have been several attempts to define core outcome domains for use in research focused on adult burns. Some have been based in expert opinion, whilst others have used primary qualitative research to understand patients’ perspectives on outcomes. To date there has not been a systematic review of qualitative research in burns to identify a comprehensive list of patient-centred outcome domains. We therefore conducted a systematic review of qualitative research studies in adult burns.
Methods
We searched multiple databases for English-language, peer-reviewed, qualitative research papers. We used search strategies devised using the SPIDER tool for qualitative synthesis. Our review utilized an iterative three-step approach: (1) outcome-focused coding; (2) development of descriptive accounts of outcome-relevant issues; and (3) revisiting studies and the broader theoretical literature in order to frame the review findings.
Results
Forty-one articles were included. We categorized papers according to their primary focus. The category with the most papers was adaptation to life following burn injury (n = 13). We defined 19 outcome domains across the 41 articles: (1) sense of self; (2) emotional and psychological morbidity; (3) sensory; (4) scarring and scar characteristics; (5) impact on relationships; (6) mobility and range of joint motion; (7) work; (8) activities of daily living and self-care; (9) treatment burden; (10) engagement in activities; (11) wound healing and infection; (12) other physical manifestations; (13) financial impact; (14) impact on spouses and family members; (15) analgesia and side effects; (16) cognitive skills; (17) length of hospital stay; (18) access to healthcare; and (19) speech and communication. We suggest that sense of self is a core concern for patients that, to date, has not been clearly conceptualized in the burns outcome domain literature.
Conclusions
This outcome domain framework identifies domains that are not covered in previous attempts to outline core outcome domains for adult burn research. It does so with reference to existing theoretical perspectives from the sociology and psychology of medicine. We propose that this framework can be used as a basis to ensure that outcome assessment is patient-centred. Sense of self requires further consideration as a core outcome domain.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBurns & Trauma
Early online date1 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com

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