How disabling are pediatric burns? functional independence in Dutch pediatric patients with burns

Laurien M Disseldorp, Anuschka S Niemeijer, Margriet E Van Baar, Heleen A Reinders-Messelink, Leonora J Mouton, Marianne K Nieuwenhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Although the attention for functional outcomes after burn injury has grown over the past decades, little is known about functional independence in performing activities of daily living in children after burn injury. Therefore, in this prospective cohort study functional independence was measured by burn care professionals with the WeeFIM(®) instrument in 119 pediatric patients with burns (age: 6 months-16 years; 58.8% boys) in the Netherlands. In order to identify whether functional independence was affected, participants' total scores on the WeeFIM(®) instrument were compared to American norm values. Of the participants assessed at 2 weeks post burn (n = 117), 3 months post burn (n = 68) and/or 6 months post burn (n = 38), 22, 9 and 9 participants showed affected performance, respectively. Improvements in WeeFIM(®) total scores for the total study population between 2 weeks and 6 months post burn were significant (Wilcoxon T = 2.5; p<.001, effect size = -0.59). Individual improvements were found to be significant for 30.3% of the assessed participants between 2 weeks and 3 months post burn, and for 12.1% between 3 and 6 months post burn. This study is unique in providing data on functional independence for this large and special population. However, a proportion of participants were lost to follow-up and the use of the WeeFIM(®) instrument in this specific population and setting has its limitations. To conclude, burn injury impacts functional independence in children, yet the vast majority of Dutch pediatric patients with burns returns to functional independence typical for age within 6 months post burn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • activities of daily living
  • adolescent
  • burns/rehabilitation
  • Child
  • preschool
  • disability evaluation
  • disabled children/rehabilitation
  • female
  • follow-up studies
  • humans
  • infant
  • newborn
  • male
  • Netherlands
  • prospective studies
  • quality of life
  • recovery of function


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