End of Life Wounds

Heidi Cross's picture
End of Life Skin

By Heidi Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

Ms. EB, a frail 82-year-old woman admitted to a long-term care facility, had a complex medical history that included diabetes, extensive heart disease, ischemic strokes with left-sided weakness and dysphagia, dementia, kidney disease, anemia, chronic Clostridium difficile infection, and obesity. Her condition was guarded at best on admission, and she had a feeding tube for nutrition secondary to dysphagia. Despite these challenges, she survived two years at the facility.

Lindsay Andronaco's picture

By Lindsay D. Andronaco RN, BSN, CWCN, WOC, DAPWCA, FAACWS

Part 1 in a series on skin failure

A few years ago, a panel of experts gathered to evaluate the nature of skin changes at life's end (SCALE) and to discuss the Kennedy Terminal Ulcer (KTU). The panel concluded that there are observable changes in the skin at the end of life and that these situations are complex. It should be noted that the skin is an organ and it can fail. The skin can also demonstrate what is happening internally, such as multisystem organ failure.