Quality of Life Experienced by Military Burn Survivors

Tuesday, 23 July 2013: 10:45 AM

Linda H. Yoder, PhD, RN, MBA, PhD, AOCN, FAAN
Nursing Aministration and Healthcare Systems Management, University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, Austin, TX
D. Curk McFall, MSN, RN
School of Nursing, The University of Texas as Austin, Austin, TX
Leopoldo C. Cancio, MD, FACS
U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, Fort Sam Houston, TX

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe the Satisfaction with Life Scale Scores reported by military burn survivors over time.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe findings from the Burn Specific Health Scale and subscales over 18 months post-hospital discharge.

Purpose: There are few studies that examine the quality of life (QOL) of burn patients; no studies report longitudinal QOL among military burn survivors. The purpose of this study was to examine QOL as experienced by military burn survivors over time.

Methods: Seventy-eight participants were enrolled in this descriptive longitudinal study. Data were gathered at 5 time points: burn center discharge; 3, 6, 12, and 18 months post-discharge. The Burn Specific Health Scale-A (BSHS-A) and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWL) were used; participants also completed demographic and clinical history forms. Data were analyzed using measures of central tendency, correlations, and ANOVA.

Results: The participants were primarily male (n=76), Army (74%), enlisted service members (96%) with an average age of 25 years; they had served in the military for an average of 62 months. Most were Caucasian (69%), had at least a high school education or GED (56%) with an annual income of $40,000 or less (78%), and 45% were married. They presented with thermal burns and polytrauma resulting from combat injuries and accidents with a mean total body surface area burned = 24%; average length of stay in the burn unit was 44 days (median =17 days). QOL significantly improved from burn center discharge to all other time points (P< .01-.0001). There were no significant changes in SWL over 18 months; however BSHS-A and SWL scores were significantly correlated at all time points (p< .0001).

Conclusion: These patients were relatively young and in good physical health prior to sustaining a burn injury. Participants’ QOL scores improved significantly from the time of discharge over 18 months but did not improve between time points after 3 months. SWL remained stable with scores slightly above a neutral rating. Understanding burn patients’ QOL allows for burn rehabilitation to be tailored to their needs.