Burn Survivor Support
Burn survivor support is crucial in the days, weeks and months following a severe burn injury. Severe burns can affect the survivor not only physically, but emotionally, spiritually and psychologically as well. Burn survivors and their families require intensive burn survivor support in order to cope with severe burns and their intensive care and rehabilitation.
Where can burn survivors and their family members turn when they have experienced the trauma of a severe burn? Burn survivor support can take many forms, from online support groups to psychological counseling. The following are a few suggestions regarding how to find the support you need (or your family needs) following a severe burn injury.
Online support groups
There are many online support groups and forums that burn survivors and/or their family members can join in order to gain knowledge, ask questions and talk to others who have experienced the same feelings and issues. Online support groups can offer hope and support anywhere and at any time of the day, offering an advantage over more structured support groups. One such online support group can be found at www.burnsurvivor.com.
Conventional support groups
Conventional support groups generally meet at a specific time and location. They may meet for a prescribed amount of time or for an unspecified length of time. They are often run out of hospitals or burn centers and may be overseen by health care professionals or burn survivors. To find a support group near you, www.burnsurvivor.com offers a state-by-state listing of support groups that can be used to find a support group in your area.
Due to the devastating nature of severe burn injuries, many survivors and their family members undergo counseling either separately or together to help them to better cope with the emotional distress that these injuries can cause. A psychologist or psychiatrist can help a survivor cope with feelings of anger and grief that are a normal consequence of these types of injuries. Severe burn injuries can also place an enormous amount of stress on family members, and families may opt to pursue individual or family counseling as a method of coping. It can be of great comfort and value to be able to talk to a professional counselor about the many feelings engendered by a major life-altering event. Referrals to counselors can be obtained from a physician or treating facility.
It is not surprising that people of faith (and even some without) crave the solace that spiritual counseling can bring. Burn survivors and their loved ones may experience a crisis of faith when faced with the possibility of permanent disability or disfigurement and require help to answer their faith-based questions. Prayer can be a positive healing force for some. To obtain the counsel of a member of the clergy, simply ask- staff members will know how to contact a clergy member of your faith. If you are at home, going to church and adhering to religious rituals can be comforting and healing.
Family and friends
Having the support of family and friends is crucial for both survivors and their loved ones. Family and friends can help in a myriad of ways (i.e. by running errands, supplying meals, providing companionship, driving to and from doctor’s appointment) and are often happy to help in any way they can. Survivors and their family members should ask for what they need, and should also not be afraid to tell people when they need quiet or privacy. The power of friendship and love cannot be underestimated in burn survivor support.
Burn survivor support is of utmost importance in the time following a severe burn injury, and survivors and their families should be aware of the support that is available to them. While it is obviously important that physical needs are met, emotional and spiritual needs are also important and should not be neglected.