The experiences of older adults living with an appearance altering burn injury: an exploratory qualitative study

Advances in medical treatment mean more older people are living with burn injuries. However, little is known about experiences and support needs of this group. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of semi-structured interviews with 10 burn survivors aged 51–71 years identified four themes: time and adjusting to an altered appearance; living with a visible difference in the eyes of others; me, myself and I; importance of maintaining appearance. Adjusting to burns was a long process. Participants discussed feeling isolated, needing information about how ageing impacts on scars and maintaining a socially acceptable appearance. Implications for care and further research are discussed.