Outcomes may be divided into those classified as short-term or long-term. In burns care, short term outcomes include the length of hospital stay, infection, healing time. Longer-term outcomes include problems with movement (contractures), cosmetic issues (scarring), pain, and psychological health. Longer-term outcomes are likely to be more important to patients. Shorter-term outcomes are more commonly used to determine the safety and efficacy of new technology or surgery. A short-term COS is not available for burns. The aims of this project are to develop and understand short-term outcomes for patients recovering from burns. This project has run in parallel an existing project that finished in 2019, developing a generic COS covering short-term and longer-term outcomes for reporting in burn research. This project is using the same peer-reviewed methodology to develop a complementary set of short-term outcomes and definitions, identified by patients and clinicians. Both COSs will improve patient care by making burn research comparable, allowing effective testing of new technology and care, and making the most worthwhile use of NHS research funding.
Core Outcomes for Burn Care Research
130,000 patients with burns require treatment in A&E each year. Improved care has meant that fewer patients die, so we cannot use survival alone to measure how good care is. Researchers currently use different outcomes to assess care quality and new treatments. This makes it difficult for researchers and clinicians to work out which treatments are best. Developing and using one set of outcomes that we know is important to patients and clinicians will allow better comparison and combining of the results of research studies. By doing this, it is expected that decisions about the best care for patients can be based on evidence. A Core Outcome Set (COS) is a minimum set of outcomes agreed, defined, measured and reported in a standard way included in all studies of a specific clinical area.
This is project is led by Dr Amber Young at the University of Bristol.