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Background: Burns and the associated wound care procedures can be extremely painful and anxiety-provoking for children. Burn injured children and adolescents are therefore at greater risk of experiencing a range of psychological reactions, in particular posttraumatic stress disorder, which can persist for months to years after the injury. Non-pharmacological intervention is critical for comprehensive pain and anxiety management and is used alongside pharmacological analgesia and anxiolysis. However, effective non-pharmacological pain and anxiety management during pediatric burn procedures is an area still needing improvement. Medical hypnosis has received support as a technique for effectively decreasing pain and anxiety levels in adults undergoing burn wound care and in children during a variety of painful medical procedures (e.g., bone marrow aspirations, lumbar punctures, voiding cystourethrograms, and post-surgical pain). Pain reduction during burn wound care procedures is linked with improved wound healing rates. To date, no randomized controlled trials have investigated the use of medical hypnosis in pediatric burn populations. Therefore this study aims to determine if medical hypnosis decreases pain, anxiety, and biological stress markers during wound care procedures; improves wound healing times; and decreases rates of traumatic stress reactions in pediatric burn patients. Methods/Design: This is a single-center, superiority, parallel-group, prospective randomized controlled trial. Children (4 to 16 years, inclusive) with acute burn injuries presenting for their first dressing application or change are randomly assigned to either the (1) intervention group (medical hypnosis) or (2) control group (standard care). A minimum of 33 participants are recruited for each treatment group. Repeated measures of pain, anxiety, stress, and wound healing are taken at every dressing change until ≥95 % wound re-epithelialization. Further data collection assesses impact on posttraumatic stress symptomatology, speed of wound healing, and parent perception of how easy the dressing change is for their child. Discussion: Study results will elucidate whether the disease process can be changed by using medical hypnosis with children to decrease pain, anxiety, and stress in the context of acute burn wounds.

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Open Access Journal Article

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.