Event round-up – National Conference for Parents/Carers of Burn Injured Children

Dr Katherine Nutt, Clinical Psychologist with the Psychological Therapies Service at Broomfield Hospital and Children’s Burns Club, rounds up all the action from this important event. 

On Saturday 19th October 2019 the Children’s Burns Trust in Partnership with the Children’s Burns Club Charity hosted the UK’s first national conference for parents/carers of burn injured children. There was recognition that parents/carers benefit from the family events run by burns clubs and charities, often supported by the Children’s Burns Trust. However, because these can only reach a limited number at any time a decision was made to create an event that hopefully could have a further reach. This was supported by the hospitals within the London South East Burns Network (LSEBN) with representatives attending from each. The venue was generously provided by Ioannis Goutos, Plastic Surgery Consultant, and colleagues at Queen Mary University London.

The day was opened by Alison Tweddle from the Children’s Burns Trust Charity and consisted of a number of presentations followed by opportunity for questions, in addition to networking time over lunch and at the end of the day. The presentations were on the ‘Emotional Journey Following a Burn Injury’ by psychologists Dr Beckie Connabeer and Dr Katherine Nutt from the St Andrews Centre, Chelmsford; Scar Management by Rachel Wiltshire, Lead therapist for the LSEBN and Megan Spires, Senior Burns Physiotherapist at the St Andrews Centre; Surgical pathway and Options for Reconstruction by Isabel Jones, Consultant Burns and Plastic Surgeon from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital; and a presentation on lived experiences by burns survivors Saffron Cohen, Raiche Mederick, Joe Ball and Tommy Gard and Parents Paul Gard and Amy McCabe (Parent Liaison, Scottish Burned Childrens Club) introduced by Pat Wade MBE, founder of the Burned Children’s Club.

There were 64 attendees at the day which included parents/carers whose children had been treated at hospitals including Chelmsford, Chelsea and Westminster, Queen Victoria, Stoke Mandeville, Birmingham Children’s, Glasgow, Royal London, Royal Manchester Children’s, Nottingham and Morriston Hospital, Swansea. The day was supported by staff from a number of these hospitals including social workers, nursing staff and playworkers in addition to volunteers and Maia Thornton from the Centre for Appearance Research and Krissie Styles from the Katie Piper Foundation.

 

The feedback from the day was very positive with the majority rating all of the presentations as excellent and reflecting on how informative and useful the talks were. The lived experience session was a particular favourite with attendees finding this emotional but very inspiring. Attendees also appreciated the opportunity to meet with other parents/carers and know they are not alone, in addition to being able to talk to a range of professionals all in one place and have a greater understanding of the journey they are currently on and what is ahead.

There were requests for greater club support to certain geographical areas and also for future events to be held in different parts of the country to meet a wider audience and possibly be more interactive with workshop sessions. In addition a number of parents were very keen for their own children to hear the inspirational stories of the young adults who spoke about their personal experiences of their burn injury and subsequent journey. Within the Children’s Burns Club we have burn survivors co-facilitate our workshops for young people which enables this process, survivors are often volunteers at clubs and camps and they use social media and promotion campaigns such as those run by the Children’s Burns Trust but we would be interested in hearing about other ideas or events to further support this. If you have any questions about this event please contact the Children’s Burns Club: childrensburnsclub@meht.nhs.uk

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