Older Adult Home Management
Skin tear is a common problem that is experienced by most of the older adults. In order to treat this especially at home it requires special skills to encourage healing. The home healthcare providers are the best ones and are in the primary positions to help the patients to manage skin tears. They may also help them to prevent such occurrences further to reduce the skin trauma.
In order to manage the high-risk patients, specific skill set is required as well as other important things such as:
- Abiding by the different set guidelines
- Proper and regular risk assessments
- Classifications of the conditions of the patients and
- Products that exists and to use to deal with the conditions.
It is critical to have frequent evaluation of the effectiveness of the treatment and prevention strategies. This will help the home health care agencies to follow the overall skin care protocol for home care patients. This will in turn help them to reduce skin tear incidence successfully and at the same time help prompt healing when there are skin tears existing in a patient.
Problems of skin tears
Skin tear is one of the most common and dreaded consequences of trauma to the aging skin. This needs a skilled and meticulous assessment approach as well as a special wound care practice to prevent further complications in the skin and promote healing.
Skin tears can occur anywhere on the body including:
These are the most vulnerable areas. According to research it is found that:
- Skin tears affect 1.5 million hospitalized or long-term care older patients
- The prevalence rate is thought to be between 14% and 24%
- About 5% of older adults residing in residential community settings suffer from skin tears
However, the prevalence of skin tears among older adults living at home or receiving home health care Philadelphiais much higher than in residential settings.
The care of skin actually is a critical health issue given the fact that there is an increasing aging population of older adults who live at home with chronic conditions. The home healthcare providers are the most skilled and trained professionals to prevent skin tears in such situations as they can assess the home setting and teach the caregivers, the older adults as well as the families about how they can make simple modifications to deal with this growing issue.
Ideally, the care process for skin tears in the older adults should focus on specific areas and aspects such as:
- Controlling bleeding from the infected area
- Preventing infection
- Controlling pain
- Restoring the integrity of the skin and
- Promoting a healing environment.
In order to do so and ensure that the best care is provided to the older adults the health care professionals should follow a specific approach that includes:
- Risk assessment
- Skin tear classification
- Bestpractice for preventionand
- The treatment guidelines.
This will not only allow them to provide the best treatment to the patients who are suffering from skin tears by managing it just the way it is required but will also identify those patients who are at risk for these wounds.
Types of skin tears
According to the existing definitions of skin tears suggest there are basically two types of it such as:
- A partial-thickness wound near the region where the epidermis is separated from the dermis secondary to shearing or friction force trauma and
- A full thickness where both the dermis and the epidermis separate from the underlying tissue.
None of the above two types of skin tears will result in serious problems but still these can predispose patients to infection and cause major discomfort. In an aggravated state, managing such conditions can be really costly. It is therefore recommended that such conditions should be treated as quickly and appropriately as possible.
There is another significant problem with skin tear care and treatment. More often than not, skin tears are often misdiagnosed and mismanaged. It is for this reason that international consensus panel suggested that there is an immediate need for a validated and more comprehensive treatment program to manage and cure skin tears. Therefore, the home acre agencies now have to find better ways to predict, assess, treat and prevent skin tears.
Susceptibility of ageing skin
The home care agency should be well aware about the susceptibility of the aging skin and keep the patients as well as their family members well informed about the risk factors. Though skin tears can occur at any age, it is those people who are 65 years old and older than that are more vulnerable to this condition.
Research says that those who are 80 years old and above are at the greatest risk of skin tears. This is because they are the ones who experience more noticeable physiological changes in the skin.
In addition to that it is found that, the older individuals typically have endured a lifetime of environmental exposure of their skin to the sun, wind, rain and other hazards as well. It is for this reason the older adults are more vulnerable to more chronic conditions that may impact their skin.
Physiological changes play a major role in initiating a series of events that may typically predispose the skin of the older adults to tearing. There are different stages and degrees of effect on the skin such as:
- It all begins with a 20% atrophy or thinningof the epidermis and the dermis
- It then causes weakening of the skin structure between the different layers of it and ultimately
- It gives a paper-thin appearance.
It is at this stage that that the structures that keep the skin layers attached to each other start to flatten. This results in a diminution in the cohesiveness of the layers of the skin. In addition to that, due to aging there is a reduction in blood supply to the skin. This results in decreased sensation which means there will be reduced response to pain, temperature and tactile sensitivity.
Fortunately, the international consensus statement serves as a guide to the home care providers about skin tear care to provide the best results.