The team are currently carrying out a smaller study, known as feasibility work, to check that what they do in the large study would be acceptable to patients (ie. children and parents/carers) and staff, that it is practically achievable and that they have support and involvement from burn care teams across the country. This will include agreeing with patients and staff, when and how to recruit participants, how to keep them engaged with a full study over time, and what is the best way to assess scarring and emotional outcomes. This work will enable us to know if a full study is feasible and practical.
Multicentre Burns Cohort Feasibility Study
Very little is known about the best way to treat burns that will result in the least scarring for patients. We know that if children have large burns, if the wounds take a long time to heal, or if many operations are needed, scarring will be worse. However, it is also known that children with similar types of small area scalds still scar differently. It is likely that the patients’ genetic make-up (genes)will affect their scarring. If we knew that a child had genes that would result in a poor scar, then we could target treatment differently for these children. Separately, some patients and families struggle to adjust emotionally to scars. If we could understand what predicts this adjustment, we could similarly tailor the support needed.
In future, we would like to collect samples from young children with burns, such as saliva, to look at their genes. Before we do this large study in the future, we need to know if it would be possible.
The project is led by Dr Amber Young at the University of Bristol.