New Tool Helps Measure Social Participation Among Burn Survivors.
A new assessment tool that measures social participation following a burn injury helps both survivors and their care providers gauge the social impact of burn injuries, according to a study led by the School of Public Health.
The study, published online in the journal Quality of Life Research, used a new tool called the Life Impact Burn Recovery Evaluation Profile (LIBRE) to assess social participation, such as relationships with family and friends, among 600 burn survivors. Participants in the study had a mean age of 44, with the average time since the burn injury of about 15 years.
Previous research has identified social interaction as one of the most common problems for people with burns, especially injuries to the facial area. Meeting new people, developing close relationships, and securing jobs can be more difficult when first impressions are negative, the authors noted.
Unlike other measures, the LIBRE profile focuses on social issues specific to burn survivors, rather than physical and psychological functioning. Besides relationships with family and friends, it looks at social interactions, social activities, employment, romantic relationships and sexual relationships.
The pilot study found that the LIBRE tool – a computerized questionnaire – was “empirically reliable and calibrated for a burn-specific population” and could serve to identify the needs of burn survivors and “provide a guide for future interventions.”
Since many of the items assessed are not burn-specific, the authors said, it is possible that versions of the assessment tool could be used in other populations with social participation challenges, such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury.
“This work lays an important foundation for developing a set of CATS (computerized adaptive testing) that give a framework for capturing the social participation of adult burn survivors in the community,” the study says.
Leading the study was Lewis Kazis, professor of health law, policy & management. SPH co-authors include Molly Marino, a doctoral student working at the Health & Disabilities Research Institute. SPH co-authors include Alan Jette, professor of health law, policy & management; Pengsheng Ni, research associate professor of health law, policy & management; Emily Dore; research project coordinator of health law, policy & management; and Marina Soley Bori and Flor Amaya, former researchers with the LIBRE project.
Co-authors came from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Shriners Hospital for Children, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors.
By Lisa Chedekel
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