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Health professionals' and consumers' opinion: what is considered important when rating burn scars from photographs?

, : Health professionals' and consumers' opinion: what is considered important when rating burn scars from photographs?. Journal of Burn Care & Research 32(2): 275-285

With advances in wound care technology, there is a trend toward patients undertaking specialist burns treatment in an outpatient capacity. Photographic scar evaluation is a part of this trend in some health services because it permits scar assessment by different health professionals, both within and across outpatient services, to assess the impact of scar management strategies. The aim of this study was to explore the parameters considered integral to scar assessment when completing photographic scar evaluation. First, opinions were sought from 38 burn health professionals in 2 tertiary pediatric hospitals who participated in focus groups where in-person and in-photograph scar rating were completed using three burn scar rating scales (modified Vancouver scar scale, Manchester scar scale, and patient and observer scar assessment scale) presented with a standard format and instructions. Second, 36 occupational therapists and physiotherapists from Australia and New Zealand completed questionnaires. Third, 10 healthcare consumers from 1 tertiary pediatric hospital participated in face-to-face or telephone interviews. Parameters believed to be assessed using photographic evaluation of burns scarring were vascularity, surface area, color, contour, height, and overall opinion. However, surface area was considered questionable as an indicator of scar maturity. These parameters mostly differ from those considered important in a burn scar outcome measure when rating scars in-person: height/thickness, vascularity, color, pliability, joint function, and patient/client opinion. A categorical scale with visual descriptors, as well as specific strategies to improve photographic technique, may go some way to addressing the perceived difficulty in rating these parameters using burn scar photographs.


PMID: 21233729

DOI: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e31820aaf09

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