"This is not just a little accident": A qualitative understanding of paediatric burns from the perspective of parents

Document Type

Journal Article


Informa Healthcare


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences




This article was originally published as: Mcgarry, S. A., Elliot, C., McDonald, A., Valentine, J., Wood, F., & Girdler, S. J. (2015) "This is not just a little accident": A qualitative understanding of paediatric burns from the perspective of parents. Disability and Rehabilitation, 37(1), 41-50. Original article available here


Purpose: To describe the experiences of parents of children admitted to hospital for a burn.Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with 21 parents (14 mothers and seven fathers) of children who had sustained a burn requiring hospitalisation. Face-to-face interviews were conducted six months post-burn, in rural, remote and metropolitan areas. The interview guide explored the overall experience of parents and included probing questions exploring the perceptions, thoughts and feelings of participants. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analysed according to the seven-step Coliazzi method. Relationships between themes were explored to identify core concepts.Results: Analysis of interview transcripts revealed three phases that describe the parents' journey: experiencing the accident, the in-patient phase and the return to community. Within these phases, themes were identified. Themes represented subthemes of stressors, behavioural and emotional responses and coping factors.Conclusion: Findings from this research will allow health professionals to optimise a holistic clinical service from a consumer's perspective at all stages of the burn journey. These research conclusions could be used for the development of protocols to underpin a comprehensive information and social support management plan for families that would complement and support the surgical, medical and therapeutic treatment plan, providing direction for comprehensive service delivery.