Burns are traumatic injuries for both survivors and their family | Whanau
Burn survivors can be faced with many losses – their usual physical appearance, sometimes their home, income, and perhaps they are also grieving the loss of a family member or colleague involved in a fire.
A multiple grief situation is not uncommon. This is often experienced whilst also enduring a long hospitalisation period.
The multiple emotions felt by burn survivors and the need for care on many levels, was the reason that founder Delwyn Tait felt there was a very real need to not only augment hospital care for burns survivors but also particularly support survivors and their families throughout the rehabilitative phase of a burn injury.
How it all began
On Sunday 19th February 1984, Delwyn’s eight-year-old son, Brendon received burns to 40% of his body in an explosion in Papakura, Auckland.
It was as a direct result of this experience that Delwyn began visiting burn survivors in Middlemore Hospital, weekly, for about two years.
It rapidly became apparent to her that one of the most difficult phases of a burn injury occurred after the discharge from hospital when the survivor must come to terms with changes in body image and the associated reaction to their appearance from other people. She felt this could be made considerably easier with the support a group could give, as she was receiving very successful feedback from burn survivors who she had ‘matched’ together, sometimes during their hospitalisation or after discharge.
The group has mushroomed considerably since it’s humble beginnings with the first small meetings held in Delwyn’s home in 1987.
Over 1,500 supporters and survivors are now on the Trust’s database, there are two part-time employees and the Trust is now taking a three-pronged approach - Prevention, Education and Care.