by Hy-Tape International
Skin tears are a costly and increasingly common condition affecting a large number of patients, particularly older adults. These injuries can be caused by excessive friction, shearing, or blunt forces, causing a partial- or full-thickness wound. Although they are generally considered to be minor injuries, skin tears can lead to more serious complications and exacerbate existing wounds. To ensure that the costs of skin tears do not become too great, and that patients stay healthy, it is critical that health care professionals understand the risks of skin tearing and take preventative action to reduce those risks.1
Skin tearing can lead to several complications and be extremely costly. Approximately 1.5 million instances of skin tearing occur each year among elderly residents of health care facilities in the United States alone.2 This makes skin tearing one of the most common causes of wounds; it accounts for 41.5% of all wounds found in elderly care residents according to one study.3 The high prevalence of skin tearing can significantly add to the costs of health care by demanding more time from health care professionals and potentially leading to other complications, such as infections and increased morbidity risks.4
To reduce the risk of skin tearing and prevent potential complications and costs, health care professionals should take several key steps. By creating a preventative action plan and following best practices, it is possible to lower the rate of skin tearing and keep patients safe.
These four steps are a good start in protecting patients from the dangers of skin tears. By taking a proactive approach, following skin care best practices, and using gentle medical adhesives, the risk of a patient’s developing a skin tear can be significantly reduced.
1. Vandervord JG, Tolerton SK, Campbell PA, Darke JM. Loch-Wilkinson AV. Acute management of skin tears: a change in practice pilot study. Int Wound J. 2016;13:59–64. doi:10.1111/iwj.12227 CONTENT: Practical guidance on including a skin tear prevention plan in your facility (see ISTAP resources)
2. Baranoski S. Meeting the challenge of skin tears. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2005;18(2):74–5.
3. Everett S, Powell T. Skin tears - the underestimated wound. Primary Intention. 1994;2(1):28–30.
4. LeBlanc K, Baranoski S. Skin tears: state of the science: consensus statements for the prevention, prediction, assessment, and treatment of skin tears. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2011;24(9):2–15.
5. Farris MK, Petty M, Hamilton J, Walters S-A, Flynn MA. Medical adhesive-related skin injury prevalence among adult acute care patients. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2015;42(6):589–98. doi:10.1097/won.0000000000000179.
6. Gray M, McNichol L, Nix D. Incontinence-associated dermatitis: progress, promises, and ongoing challenges. J Wound ostomy Continence Nurs. 2016;43(2):188–92.
About the Company
Hy-Tape International offers high-quality adhesive tape and has served the market for 70 years. Tapes are available in strips, patches, and kit rolls giving health care providers a wide range of options for securing dressings and devices. Free product samples are available at www.hytape.com or by calling 1-800-248-0201. Industry Voices is brought to you by health care industry sponsors.
All content is developed and paid for by the sponsoring company. Kestrel Health Information, Inc. is not involved in the creation of this content.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, HMP Global, its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.