Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science Honours

School

School of Exercise and Health Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science

First Advisor

Dr Janet Richmond

Second Advisor

Winthrop Professor Fiona Wood

Abstract

Burns are widely acknowledged as one of the most painful injuries experienced, and poorly controlled pain following burn injury has been linked to reduced psychological adjustment, lower quality of life, and increased risk of developing a chronic pain state. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation has been used for pain relief in a range of medical conditions, and may have the potential to reduce pain and analgesic consumption for burns patients. The burn care environment presents unique challenges to the introduction of new interventions, and the feasibility of introducing a novel form of electrical stimulation into this environment has not been tested.

This single case experimental design study explores the feasibility of engaging burns patients and staff in the use of a novel electrical stimulation device, which may offer solutions for some of the limitations previously identified with traditional electrical stimulation. Four outpatients, with minor hand burns, self-applied the device over a period of up to 13 days. Multiple sources of data were gathered, both at home, and in the clinic during wound care procedures; from participants, nursing staff and the researcher, to obtain different perspectives.

Each case was analysed separately regarding changes at the time the device was introduced. Data collected included ratings of pain, anxiety and confidence in the ability to manage their own pain. Participant and staff ratings on ease of use and interference of the device with regular activities were also explored, along with the level of motivation to use the device.

Analysis of trends and relationships between multiple data sources demonstrated that, for these participants with hand burns, the self-application of a novel electrical stimulation device was feasible. Recommendations for further research and clinical practice are outlined.

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