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Burns psychology service

The Clinical Psychology service in Paediatric Burns supports children and young people who have suffered burn injuries both as inpatients and outpatients and also supports their families during this difficult time.

What does a Clinical Psychologist do?

Clinical Psychologists are trained in child development, how children think and learn, and how children and families cope with difficulties. The Clinical Psychologist will talk to you about any worries, fears or your experiences. They are able to work with you and your family to try and help you find ways of coping, as well as helpful ways forward. They also work closely with nurseries, schools, colleges and any other professionals involved with the family.

Working with a Clinical Psychologist

Burn injuries may be very distressing to children and their families, and sometimes it can be difficult to cope either when on the ward or when at home. At these times it may be helpful to talk to someone like a Clinical Psychologist.

A child may be seen because of:

  • Experiencing distressing memories of the injury.
  • Difficulties in adjusting to the effects of the burn.
  • Worries about scarring and appearance.
  • Distressing or upsetting treatment.
  • Difficulties in coping with changes in appearance.
  • Worries about going back to school.

Similarly, parents/carers may have worries about:

  • Their children's health, future, development and school.
  • Relationships with other children. 
  • Problems with the children's behaviour.
  • Feelings of guilt or responsibility about what has happened
  • The impact of the injury on the relationships within the family.

What help may the Clinical Psychologist offer?

This will depend on the children and their families. It may involve talking to the family as a whole or working with the children or parents on their own as many times as is needed.

How can I be referred to see a Clinical Psychologist?

You can ask to be referred by any member of the Burns team or any other health professional such as your GP. Just let them know and they will contact the service at the address and telephone number at the end of the leaflet. Please also ring us if you would like to discuss any concerns and if we are not in the office please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible

What about confidentiality?

What you say will be confidential unless we are concerned for the safety of yourself or others. We will let others involved in your care know that you are working with us and we may, at times, share information to help us to provide the best service we can. We would try and discuss that through with you. 

Patient and family experience videos

Members of the children's burn service have produced two patient-experience videos of parents and a patient who describe the impact of burn injuries and treatment on their physical and psychological health. The aims are  to provide family-friendly information and reassurance, the types of support available and tips about how to cope with the process of recovery and rehabilitation. Videos can be viewed YouTube: 

Patient and Mother's experience

Parents' experience (with young children aged 3 and 5)

Funding was generously provided by the South West Burn Care ODN.