Jennifer Heath updates CBT on the ‘Supporting children with burns’ website

Our latest interview in our Q&A series is with Dr Jennifer Heath, PhD Researcher and Clinical Psychologist, currently based at the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR), UWE Bristol. Jen has featured in a previous blog talking about her plans to develop a website for parents of children who have experienced a burn injury. The website, ‘www.SupportingChildrenWithBurns.co.uk, has now been launched so we’re talking to Jen again about how the website has been performing since its release on National Burn Awareness Day last year.

For our readers who don’t know about your work, can you tell us briefly, what led to you to developing the website?

My research of the experiences of parents following their child’s burn injury suggested that many parents would value being able to access information about coping, as well as the perspectives and experiential knowledge that other parents have following a similar experience. However, it was clear that parents found few opportunities to meet other parents and there could be emotional and practical barriers that made accessing professionally-led support difficult for them. I found that most parents wanted to access information and peer support online and this could be particularly important when they didn’t want to talk about their experiences openly, or when other factors made it practically too difficult to access support for themselves. For this reason, I created a parent-focused peer-informed supportive website. The website shares parent stories, information regarding the common experiences of parents when their child is injured, and coping strategies. There is also information and tips on how to support a child through different aspects of burn care and treatment, and the opportunity for parents to feedback into the future development of the website.

You released the website on National Burn Awareness Day 2018, how did it feel to produce something that people all over the world could potentially benefit from?

It was such a great feeling, I actually got quite emotional! There had been a huge drive to get it finished in time for National Burn Awareness Day after a group of parents and professionals had tested the prototype website and made some very valuable suggestions for changes. Because of the rush, I think I was experiencing a mixture of exhaustion, excitement, pride, hopefulness, and anxiety! Heart West News came to interview me to run audio clips on their radio show throughout National Burn Awareness Day, BBC News in Bristol ran a story online, and UWE Bristol made a promotional video that has now been viewed over 2850 times!

Now that you’ve released the website, do you know whether people are actually using it?

I’m using Google Analytics to see how the website is performing. The data provided shows me that it is being accessed by over 100 visitors per month from all over the world, with most people coming from the UK (as you’d expect), but also from the USA, Australia and Canada. Within the first 4 months, 762 new visitors had accessed the site! I can also see which are the most viewed pages, and the most popular seem to be those describing the common feelings of parents after their child’s injury; those detailing where parents can find further support; the section on ‘support your child’ and the ‘top tips’ section. The ‘top tips’ section shares the advice that parents helping to develop the website wanted to share directly with other parents.

Does the British Burn Association know about the work that you have done?

They do. For the last three consecutive years, I have been presenting at the BBA Annual Meeting about my research and proposed next steps. It has been really helpful to talk to so many burn care professionals at each stage of the research process. 

What’s next?            

The website has a feedback section with a link to an online questionnaire. It would be really helpful if visitors to the website could complete the questionnaire in order to provide feedback, which can then inform the future development of www.SupportingChildrenWithBurns.co.uk. As a thank you for providing feedback, there will be a prize draw for a £50 Amazon voucher in July 2019!

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