BACKGROUND: Identifying predictors of health-related quality of life (HRQL) following burns is essential for optimization of rehabilitation for burn survivors. This study aimed to systematically review predictors of HRQL in burn patients.
METHODS: Medline, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane, CINAHL, and Google Scholar were reviewed from inception to October 2016 for studies that investigated at least one predictor of HRQL after burns. The Quality in Prognostic Studies tool was used to assess risk of bias of included studies.
RESULTS: Thirty-two studies were included. Severity of burns, postburn depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms, avoidance coping, less emotional or social support, higher levels of neuroticism, and unemployment postburn were found to predict a poorer HRQL after burns in multivariable analyses. In addition, weaker predictors included female gender, pain, and a postburn substance use disorder. Risk of bias was generally low in outcome measurement and high in study attrition and study confounding.
CONCLUSIONS: HRQL after burns is affected by the severity of burns and the psychological response to the trauma. Both constructs provide unique information and knowledge that are necessary for optimized rehabilitation. Therefore, both physical and psychological problems require attention months to years after the burn trauma.