Implementation of a Psychosocial Screener for Adults in an Outpatient Burn Clinic. Academic Article uri icon


  • Burn injuries are significant medical traumas often resulting in substantial psychosocial distress. Early identification of psychosocial concerns is crucial to developing individualized treatments to improve psychosocial functioning. Few studies have examined the prevalence of a broad range of psychosocial concerns in an adult outpatient burn setting. In this study, they developed and implemented a screening instrument to identify patients experiencing acute psychosocial distress/risk and patients with mental health difficulties necessitating a psychology consult. The instrument assessed depression, anxiety, substance abuse, posttraumatic stress, perceived safety at home, and suicidal ideation. Adult patients (N = 178) completed the screener during an initial outpatient clinic visit. Responses on the screener were used to identify patients as "high risk" (ie, endorsing suicidal ideation and/or feeling unsafe at home), "moderate risk" (ie, endorsing no-acute mental health symptoms), or "low risk" (ie, few to no symptoms endorsed). Patients in the "high risk" category were immediately evaluated by the attending physician, who then determined whether emergency treatment was needed. Patients in the "moderate risk" category were referred to the on-site psychology team for in-person or phone consultation within 3 days of screener completion. Of the 178 individuals screened, a majority endorsed low to no psychosocial distress (N = 124; 69.7%). About one-third (N = 52) indicated moderate levels of psychosocial distress, and two patients (1.1%) endorsed acute psychosocial distress. This novel screening tool was effectively implemented in an outpatient burn clinic and demonstrates considerable promise for identifying psychosocially vulnerable patients in an adult burn survivor population.© American Burn Association 2019. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:

publication date

  • December 2019