Jeff sustained burn injuries to his hands over 20 years ago after an electrical accident at work. He experiences mental health difficulties that he says were a result of the burn. Jeff believes it’s important to talk to others about how you are feeling mentally.

Jeff sustained burn injuries to his hands over 20 years ago after an accident at work. Jeff worked in construction at the time and was moving electrical cables in order for a grid to be fitted. He remembers being “threw across the floor by about 7ft”. Jeff felt the skin coming off his hands and he couldn’t see properly because of the flash caused by the explosion. The noise from the explosion was so loud that Jeff’s colleagues thought there had been a car accident nearby.

At the time, Jeff had not realised the severity of his injuries, and so had carried on working before going to the local hospital. Jeff recalls that the local hospital were not equipped to deal with burn injuries, so he was transferred to a specialist burns unit where he was kept as an inpatient for around a week.

Immediately after the accident, Jeff had tried to find something cool to soak his hands in to ease the pain. The only thing he could find was some “old cement water”. Jeff was later told by a doctor that this was “one of the worst things he could have done” because the cement water contained lime, which would have burnt his skin more.

Whilst he was in hospital, Jeff found it useful to speak to other people who had been burned. He said he had spoken to another person who has been burned at work, and this made him realise that he wasn’t alone in his experiences. He found it useful to talk to someone who had been injured in a similar way because they had both been affected financially and could share how they were feeling about this.

After being discharged from hospital, Jeff sometimes struggled with the reactions and judgements of other people about him having bandages on his hands. He said he sometimes would react and ‘snap back’ at people, but this wouldn’t help. Jeff found that talking about his emotions to a psychologist helped him to cope and taught him how to keep calm.

Jeff believes that it is important for healthcare professionals to be honest with people about the difficulties they may face once they are discharged from hospital, such as using the toilet facilities or showering. Jeff did not realise that he would struggle with these aspects of daily life and wishes the healthcare professionals has warned him before he went home. He said this was something he struggled with as he had to rely on other people and felt that he had “lost his independence”.

Jeff found talking to a psychologist to be a helpful way of managing his mental health.

Jeff found speaking to another person on the burns hospital ward to be useful.