Abstract

Acute pediatric burn injuries often result in chronic sequelae that affect physical, psychological and social outcomes. To date, no review has comprehensively reported on the impact of burn injuries across all three domains in school-aged children. The aim of this systematic review was to identify published literature that focuses on the impact of burn injuries on physical, psychological or social functioning, and report upon the nature of study characteristics and their outcomes. We included literature published after 1980, focusing on burn outcomes in children aged 5-18 years. Each eligible study was systematically reviewed and primary outcomes were classified into outcome domains based on existing frameworks. Fifty-eight studies met inclusion criteria, and reported on physical (n=24), psychological (n=47), and social (n=29) domains. The majority of the studies had sample sizes of <100 participants, burn size of <40%, and findings reported by parents and/or burn survivors. Only eight of 107 different measures were used in three or more studies. Parents and burn survivors generally reported better physical and social outcomes and worse psychological functioning compared to non-burn populations. Physical disabilities were associated with psychological and social functioning in several studies. Follow-up data reported improvements across domains. This review demonstrates the importance of physical, psychological and social status as long-term outcomes in burn survivors. Mixed findings across three outcome domains warrant long-term research. Findings of this review will guide the foundation of comprehensive burn and age-specific instruments to assess burn recovery.

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