Preventive Skin Care for Older Adults

Barbara Brillhart, RN, PhD, CRRN, FNP-C, Arizona State University, College of Nursing, Tempe, Arizona, USA.

Prevention of and assessment for pressure ulcers and skin tears are the responsibilities of the client, family, caregivers, and the health care team. Prevention will avoid discomfort, disfigurement and decreased quality of life, and decrease health care expenses. Assessment includes use of the Braden, Gosnell, Norton, or Waterlow Scales for pressure ulcers and the Payne-Martin classification for skin tears. Factors to prevent pressure ulcers are pressure relief, prevention of shearing and friction, skin cleansing, plus adequate nutrition and hydration. Variables to prevent skin tears include nonbinding clothing, careful transfers, environmental protection, adequate nutrition and hydration, and individualized skin care.
Key words: pressure ulcers, skin tears, assessment, prevention.