An exploration of burn survivors’ experiences of pressure garment therapy at a tertiary hospital in South Africa
CITATION: Pillay, R., Visagie, S. & Mji, G. 2017. An exploration of burn survivors’ experiences of pressure garment therapy at a tertiary hospital in South Africa. South African Journal of Occupational Therapy, 46(3):73-79, doi:10.17159/2310-3833/2016/v46n3a12.
The original publication is available at http://www.sajot.co.za
Introduction: Pressure garment therapy is used to treat hypertrophic scars, but adherence to this intervention presents challenges. The aim of the paper was to explore the pressure garment therapy experiences of adult burn survivors. Methods: The experiences of eight purposively sampled participants were explored in a qualitative, phenomenological study. Data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis was conducted. Results: Participants described an improvement in the scars, but struggled with adherence to pressure garment therapy. The emotional impact of the burn injury, physical symptoms, the effort of caring for the garments and aesthetic factors created barriers to adherence. Support, inner strength, knowledge, and seeing an improvement facilitated adherence. Conclusion: The findings of the study show that participants perceived pressure garment therapy as beneficial, but several complex factors impacted adherence. A bigger choice in material colours, a person-centred approach to burn management, digital photos of scars to catalogue improvement and the establishment of a counselling network are recommended.