Hypnotherapy for procedural pain, itch, and state anxiety in children with acute burns: A feasibility and acceptability study protocol

Geagea, D.; Griffin, B.; Kimble, R.; Polito, V.; Terhune, Devin Blair and Tyack, Z.. 2022. Hypnotherapy for procedural pain, itch, and state anxiety in children with acute burns: A feasibility and acceptability study protocol. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 8, 58. ISSN 2055-5784 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Background: Burns and related procedures are painful and distressing for children, exposing them to acute and chronic sequelae that can negatively afect their physiological, psychological, and social functions. Non-pharmacological interventions such as distraction techniques are benefcial adjuncts to pharmacological agents for procedural pain, state anxiety, and itch in children with burns but have limitations (e.g. lack of research on burn-related itch, tailoring, and consensus on optimal treatment). Hypnotherapy is a non-pharmacological intervention that can be tailored for varied settings and populations with evidence of beneft for itch and superior efectiveness in comparison to other non-pharmacological interventions for children’s procedural pain and state anxiety. Thus, children with burns can beneft from hypnotherapy as an adjunct to pharmacological agents. Yet, in paediatric burns, rigorous studies of efectiveness are limited and no studies have been identifed that screen for hypnotic suggestibility, an important predictor of hypnotherapy outcomes. Considering potential barriers to the delivery of hypnotherapy in paediatric burns, the proposed study will examine the feasibility and acceptability of hypnotic suggestibility screening followed by hypnotherapy for procedural pain, state anxiety, and itch in children with acute burns.

Methods: An observational mixed-methods feasibility and acceptability study will be conducted over 15 weeks. Eligible children (N = 30) aged 4 to 16 years presenting to a paediatric burns outpatient centre in a metropolitan children’s hospital in Australia with acute burns requiring dressing changes will be included. Eligible parents of children (N = up to 30) and clinicians who perform dressing changes (N = up to 20) will also be included. Child participants screened as having medium to high suggestibility as assessed by behavioural measures will receive hypnotherapy during dressing changes. A process evaluation will target feasibility and acceptability as primary outcomes and implementation (i.e. fdelity in delivery), reach, potential efectiveness, and adoption of evaluation procedures and intervention as secondary outcomes.

Discussion: Ethical approval was obtained from the Queensland Children’s Hospital and Health Service ethics committee. Results will be published in peer-reviewed publications and conference proceedings. The fndings will guide the design of future trials on the efectiveness of hypnotherapy and inform the development of child-centred hypnotic interventions in children with burns.

Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12620000988954

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Children, Hypnotherapy, Procedural pain, Anxiety, Itch, Acceptability, Implementation

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26 February 2022Accepted
9 March 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

28 Mar 2022 09:56

Last Modified:

28 Mar 2022 10:23

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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