A longitudinal, descriptive study of burn patients' perceptions of quality of life and community integration in the first 18-months post-burn unit discharge
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The evaluation of quality of life (QOL) and community integration are important outcome measures following burn injury. However, little is known about the long-term effects of physical and psychological factors on QOL outcomes in military and civilian burn survivors treated in a military burn center. Furthermore, the reports of long-term community integration outcomes in burn survivors is sparse. The purpose of the descriptive, longitudinal study was to examine the changes in perceptions of QOL and community integration among and between military service members and civilian burn survivors in the first 18-months following discharge to better understand adaptation in the two groups. Initially, the civilian burn survivors reported worse perceptions of QOL compared to the military participants. However, by 12-months post-discharge, the civilians’ SF-36 PCS scores were higher than the PCS scores reported by the military burn survivors. Furthermore, time was a statistically significant predictor of physical QOL outcomes. The military service members’ highest SF-36 MCS score was at three-months post-discharge and by 18-months, their perceptions of mental QOL outcomes were slightly worse than at discharge. At 12-months post-discharge, civilian participants’ perceptions of mental QOL were better that the military service members. However, the findings from this study do not offer support that time, group status, age, marital status, burn severity, and length of stay were predictive of mental QOL outcomes in burn survivors using the SF-36. Although the military participants reported higher scores at all time-points, the highest total CIQ scores for both groups were at discharge. The lowest total CIQ scores were at six-months while 18-month scores were only slightly lower than at discharge. Moreover, time group status, age, and marital status were statistically significant predictors of community integration however, the amount of variance accounted for by these variables was not statistically significant.