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The role of resilience in the recovery of the burn-injured patient: an integrative review

Authors Kornhaber R, Bridgman H, McLean L, Vandervord J

Received 7 February 2016

Accepted for publication 22 March 2016

Published 27 May 2016 Volume 2016:3 Pages 41—50

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CWCMR.S94618

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Romanelli


R Kornhaber,1 H Bridgman,2 L McLean,3–6 J Vandervord7

1School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, 2Centre for Rural Health, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, 3Brain and Mind Centre, 4Westmead Psychotherapy Program, Discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 5Sydney West and Greater Southern Psychiatry Training Network, Cumberland Hospital, Western Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, NSW, 6Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, NSW, 7Severe Burns Injury Unit, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW, Australia

Abstract: Severe burn injuries are catastrophic life events resulting in significant physical and psychological effects. With long periods of hospitalization and rehabilitation, burn survivors encounter many issues, including an altered body image and loss of function and independence that subsequently influence quality of life and the family unit. Consequently, resilience has been identified as a fundamental concept that facilitates the adaptability required to navigate the lengthy and complex recovery process. However, over time, the notion of resilience has shifted from a static, innate trait to a fluid and multidimensional concept. Here, we review the evidence surrounding the role of resilience in the recovery of burn injury. This integrative review was based on a systematic search of five electronic databases. Of the 89 articles identified, ten primary research papers met the inclusion criteria. Three key themes were identified encompassing relational strengths, positive coping, and the resistance to trauma symptoms that are fundamental constructs associated with developing and sustaining resilience that resonate with the broader literature on burn recovery. However, limited evidence is currently available within the burns context. While resilience appears to be a vital component influencing the recovery from burns trauma, it still remains a broad construct within the burns framework. Regular assessment of resilience in burn-injured patients is recommended in clinical practice in addition to longitudinal and intervention studies to best inform patient care.

Keywords: resilience, burn injury, rehabilitation, optimism, tenacity, review

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