Family weekends offer an opportunity for children with burn injuries and their parents/carers and siblings to spend some fun time together whilst also meeting others who have experienced the impact of a burn injury to their lives. Many parents experience a terrible sense of guilt surrounding the circumstances of their child’s accident. This family programme enables them to discuss issues surrounding the child’s burn openly with people who understand the emotions that they are experiencing. The effects of a burn injury on siblings is all too easily forgotten and including them in the weekend experience can help them come to terms with the changes that might have occurred in family life following a burn injury.
Six families attend a residential weekend where two separate programmes are offered for the children and the parents supported by burn care professionals which include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, play specialists and psychological therapists.
The parents’ programme includes workshops looking at and managing the impact of the burn injury on the whole family, burn scarring and treatment options as well as relaxation strategies. The children’s programme includes arts and crafts, swimming and free play. In addition, the weekend is structured to offer the families plenty of opportunity to spend time getting to know one another and have some fun. The weekends begin with an excursion to a local farm and adventure play area, and on the Saturday evening the parents have a special dinner with time to relax and chat whilst the children are looked after by the staff and entertained by a local entertainer.
In 2021, due to the impact of COVID-19 the first virtual family support event was held. One of the benefits was that more families could attend, and the programme of content was adapted to include information-based sessions run by burn care professionals and informal opportunities to connect and share experiences with the other families, and the programme also included activities such as music classes to engage the child and siblings.
An independent evaluation of the family weekends conducted by the Centre for Appearance Research in 2022* concluded that the family weekends represented a positive and valuable experience for the families and the staff that attended, emphasising the value of shared experiences and meeting others at different stages of their recovery after a burn injury.
The family weekends are provided with the wonderful support of the Firefighters Charity and burn care professionals who work at the burn’s services across the UK.
Our Family Weekends
Here from Burn Survivor Tilly on why the Family Weekends are so important. The parents’ programme includes workshops looking at and managing the impact of the burn injury on the whole family, burn scarring and treatment options as well as relaxation strategies. The children’s programme includes arts and crafts, swimming and free play.
Would you recommend the family weekend to others?
Quotes from parents that attended the family weekend.
“It’s hard to describe the experience we had other than magical and special. Relaxing and fun and just brilliant.”
“It helps you realise that you are not in that situation alone”
“Help with feeling better, knowing more and a fun place to be for a weekend.”
“Yes. For them to be able to see other children and parents and their stories is really important to realise how accidents do happen and how to deal and cope with this roller coaster.”
“The full weekend was packed full of different things and suited all ages. All the kids were brilliant, and all families got on and interacted with each other”
“It gave me special time to come more to terms with what has happened in a very supported and caring environment.”