Inpatient peer support for adult burn survivors - A valuable resource: A phenomenological analysis of the Australian experience
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Nursing and Midwifery / Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Services Research
Peer support has long been recognised as an essential component of a supportive network for people facing adversity. In particular, burn survivor peer support is a valuable and credible resource available to those rehabilitating from a severe burn. The aim of this study was to explore burn survivors’ experiences of providing and receiving inpatient peer support to develop an in-depth understanding of the influence during the rehabilitation journey. In 2011, twenty-one burn survivors were recruited from four severe burn units across Australia. A qualitative phenomenological methodology was used to construct themes depicting survivors’ experiences. Participants were selected through purposeful sampling, and data collected through in-depth individual semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using Colaizzi's phenomenological method of data analysis. Central to burn rehabilitation was the notion of peer support having a significant impact on burn survivors’ psychosocial rehabilitation. The emergent theme ‘Burn Survivor Peer Support’ identified five cluster themes: (1) Encouragement, inspiration and hope (2) Reassurance (3) The Importance of Timing (4) The Same Skin (5) Appropriate Matching. These findings demonstrate that peer support assists with fostering reassurance, hope and motivation in burn rehabilitation. A national network based on a clinician led inpatient burn survivor peer support programme could provide burn survivors across Australia, and in particular remote access locations, with the benefits of peer support necessary to endure the rehabilitation journey.