CHIPA members Prof Kim Foster, Prof Kate Curtis and Dr Connie Van were awarded best paper in the Golden issue of Injury.
Injury is the official journal of the 18 international trauma societies. The journal is now in its 50th year and it was decided that there would be special “Golden” issue and that papers would be called for specifically for that issue.
A prize was offered for the best paper as judged by the Editor in Chief. The Golden issue was the October issue and the prize was awarded jointly to two papers. One of those two winners was entitled “Resilient, recovering, distressed: a longitudinal qualitative study of parent psychological trajectories following child critical injury”. The authors were Kim Foster, Rebecca Mitchell, Connie Van, Alexandra Young, Andrea McCloughen and Kate Curtis. The reference is Injury 50(2019) 1605-1611.
This is an accolade that the authors can be justifiably proud as this is the first qualitative study to report the psychosocial trajectories of parents of critically injured children.. In-depth interviews were conducted with 27 parents at three time points over a 12 month period: the immediate hospital period post-child injury, and 6 and 12 months following injury, resulting in a total of 81 interviews. They found that Parents of injured children are at substantial risk of developing adverse mental health outcomes. Three parent trajectory patterns were identified: resilient trajectory where parents were temporarily disrupted by the child’s injury and hospitalisation, but recovered their mental and emotional wellbeing quickly, which was maintained over time; recovering trajectory where parents were initially disrupted at the time of injury but their mental and emotional wellbeing fluctuated over time and had not been fully restored by 12 months; and distressed trajectory where parents experienced significant psychosocial disruption due to their child’s injury and struggled to adapt and regain their wellbeing over time, remaining emotionally distressed about the circumstances and impacts of the injury on their child and family.
Clinical application of insights provided by these trajectories can assist clinicians to use targeted strategies to help strengthen parental adaptation and prevent adverse mental health outcomes, and address families’ psychosocial support needs following child injury. Screening for parent psychological distress and post-traumatic stress disorder is needed from the time of the child’s admission, and a dedicated trauma support role can facilitate an integrated care approach for children and families with complex needs across the care continuum. A dedicated trauma support role can facilitate an integrated care approach for families across the injury care continuum.