by Hy-Tape International
Prevention is one of the most important components of wound and ostomy care. Factors such as hydration, pressure, excessive moisture, cleanliness, and erythema can all affect wound healing rate, patient comfort, and the incidence of new wounds. By taking a proactive stance, health care professionals can reduce the risk of infection, reduce costs, and improve patient outcomes.1
Why Preventative Skin Care is Important
Wounds affect 35% of all hospice patients, and 120,000 new ostomy surgeries are performed each year.2,3 This makes these two of the most prevalent conditions faced by nurses and other health care professionals. Applying practices that are focused on preventing wounds (and wound complications before they develop into more serious problems) can help reduce additional costs, while also helping to reduce the patient's risk of complications. Investing the time, resources, and energy into properly working on skin and wound care prevention strategies can ultimately pay dividends in the prevention of costly conditions that impact patient quality of life later on.
Taking a Preventative Approach to Wound and Ostomy Care
Given the high incidence and cost of wound and ostomy management, taking a preventative approach to skin health is an important part of effective care. This approach should combine proper patient positioning, effective treatment of underlying issues, skin moisturization, and cleansing. Together, these techniques can help health care professionals prevent skin problems that may cause or exacerbate wounds and ostomies.1
Identify Risk Factors
Understanding the underlying causes of wounds, and identifying potential problems before they become more serious, is critical to preventative skin care. Some common risk factors may be incontinence, diabetes, and limited mobility. Each of these issues can lead to increased risk of infection, increased risk of developing pressure ulcer/injuries, and other skin issues. Patients suffering from any of these conditions should be treated with extra attention—and receive consistent skin care.1
Implement a Preventative Regimen
Developing a preventative skin care regimen (and making it consistent) is critical to minimizing wound- and ostomy-related complications. This regimen should consist of several components, depending on the underlying risk factors and patient needs. An effective skin care regimen will generally include:
- Repositioning - Regularly repositioning pressure points is extremely important for patients that lack mobility. This can help reduce the risk of pressure injuries. It is also important to limit pressure on areas that are developing erythema or other early signs of pressure injury.1
- Cleaning - Cleaning near wounds, ostomies, or in areas affected by incontinence is important to prevent infections and reduce the risk of MASD, IAD, or other skin damage.1 Caregivers should clean the area with a gentle, balanced cleansing solution and a soft cloth to minimize skin irritation. In the case of incontinence, cleaning should be done as soon after the incident as possible.1
- Moisturization and Protection - Keeping skin moisturized is critical to ensuring that it does not become damaged or irritated. After cleaning, caregivers should apply a skin safe moisturizing agent to the affected area. At-risk skin can also be treated with a barrier product that can help limit the effect of excess moisture.1
- Effective Medical Adhesives and Dressings - Using secure adhesives with the right dressings can help reduce the risk of moisture or other foreign material entering the wound area, helping to prevent infection and promote rapid healing.1
Although this is only a brief outline, these techniques will form the basis of effective preventative skin care in the management of patients with wounds or ostomies.
1. Goldberg M. Preventative Skin Care. https://www.npuap.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2.-Preventive-Skin-Care.... Accessed May 25, 2017.
2. Berlowitz D. Incidence and Prevalence of Pressure Ulcers. Pressure Ulcers in the Aging Population. 2013:19-26. doi:10.1007/978-1-62703-700-6_2.
3. o-wm.com. o-wm.com. http://www.o-wm.com/content/ostomy-statistics-the-64000-question. Accessed June 1, 2017.
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.
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