“Hanging in a balance”: A qualitative study exploring clinicians’ experiences of providing care at the end of life in the burn unit

Background:
Although the culture in burns/critical care units is gradually evolving to support the delivery of palliative/end of life care, how clinicians experience the end of life phase in the burn unit remains minimally explored with a general lack of guidelines to support them.

Aim:
To explore the end of life care experiences of burn care staff and ascertain how their experiences can facilitate the development of clinical guidelines.

Design:
Interpretive-descriptive qualitative approach with a sequential two phased multiple data collection strategies was employed (face to face semi-structured in-depth interviews and follow-up consultative meeting). Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data.

Setting/participants:
The study was undertaken in a large teaching hospital in Ghana. Twenty burn care staff who had a minimum of 6 months working experience completed the interviews and 22 practitioners participated in the consultative meeting.

Results:
Experiences of burn care staff are complex with four themes emerging: (1) evaluating injury severity and prognostication, (2) nature of existing system of care, (3) perceived patient needs, and (4) considerations for palliative care in burns. Guidelines in this regard should focus on facilitating communication between the patient and family and staff, holistic symptom management at the end of life, and post-bereavement support for family members and burn care practitioners.

Conclusions:
The end of life period in the burn unit is poorly defined coupled with prognostic uncertainty. Collaborative model of practice and further training are required to support the integration of palliative care in the burn unit.

Ethics of Burn Wound Care in a Low-Middle Income Country.

This review focuses on burn care in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It attempts to put the burden of disease in perspective by showing that burn care is under-resourced across the spectrum of LMICs and by interrogating the ethical dilemmas and challenges that staff face in caring for burn patients in this environment, with a focus on South Africa. More specifically, it will attempt to address the following issues: the threshold for utilizing the intensive care unit (ICU), how to balance treatment against cost, the percentage burn considered survivable and how it should be determined, the use of skin from both cadavers and living related donors, and the appropriate ethical guidelines for LMICs.

Exploring perceptions of common practices immediately following burn injuries in rural communities of Bangladesh

Background
Burns can be the most devastating injuries in the world, they constitute a global public health problem and cause widespread public health concern. Every year in Bangladesh more than 365,000 people are injured by electrical, thermal and other causes of burn injuries. Among them 27,000 need hospital admission and over 5600 people die. Immediate treatment and medication has been found to be significant in the success of recovering from a burn. However, common practices used in the treatment of burn injuries in the community is not well documented in Bangladesh. This study was designed to explore the perception of local communities in Bangladesh the common practices used and health-seeking behaviors sought immediately after a burn injury has occurred.

Methods
A qualitative study was conducted using Focus Group Discussions (FGD) as the data collection method. Six unions of three districts in rural Bangladesh were randomly selected and FGDs were conducted in these districts with six burn survivors and their relatives and neighbours. Data were analyzed manually, codes were identified and the grouped into themes.

Results
The participants stated that burn injuries are common during the winter in Bangladesh. Inhabitants in the rural areas said that it was common practice, and correct, to apply the following to the injured area immediately after a burn: egg albumin, salty water, toothpaste, kerosene, coconut oil, cow dung or soil. Some also believed that applying water is harmful to a burn injury. Most participants did not know about any referral system for burn patients. They expressed their dissatisfaction about the lack of available health service facilities at the recommended health care centers at both the district level and above.

Conclusions
In rural Bangladesh, the current first-aid practices for burn injuries are incorrect; there is a widely held belief that using water on burns is harmful.