Skin Tears

WoundSource Practice Accelerator's picture
Pressure Injury

by the WoundSource Editors

Wound healing is a complex process that is highly dependent on many skin cell types interacting in a defined order. With chronic wounds, this process is disrupted, and healing does not normally progress. Although there are different types of chronic wounds, those occurring from injury, such as skin tears or pressure injuries, are some of the most common. These injuries are a result of repeated mechanical irritation. Moisture-associated skin damage is another condition that can contribute to chronicity. Understanding the causes and contributors to these injuries can help to minimize patients’ risk of developing them. It can also aid in the formation of an optimal treatment plan for when injuries do occur, which reduces the healing time and leads to better patient outcomes.

Holly Hovan's picture
Skin Tear Protocol

Holly M. Hovan MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CWOCN-AP

Payne and Martin brought skin tears to the attention of wound and skin specialists and to the wound care community when they reported an incidence rate of 2.23% in individuals aged 55 years and older, living in a long-term care facility. A skin tear is "a wound caused by shear, friction, and/or blunt force resulting in a separation of skin layers." Skin tears may be partial- or full-thickness wounds, develop into chronic wounds without proper treatment and follow-up, and, most importantly, are preventable.

Hy-Tape International's picture
elderly patient skin tear prevention

By Hy-Tape International

Skin tears are a major and growing problem for health care professionals, particularly those caring for older patients. By 2060, the population of Americans age 65 or older is projected to grow from approximately 46 million to 98 million and account for 24% of the total population.1 This makes skin tears an issue of increasing concern, and it is important for those caring for older adults to take steps to prevent the problem.

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elderly patient skin tear prevention

By Holly M. Hovan MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CWON-AP

I'm sure you're all familiar with the terms "prednisone skin," "thin skin," "fragile skin," or "easily bruises." One or all of these phrases are commonly used to describe our geriatric population's aging skin. As we age, so does our skin. Skin loses elasticity and often gains wrinkles. Skin conditions that were maybe never present throughout life can crop up with aging. Keep in mind that the environment and different exposures (to sunlight, smoking, and stress) can cause our skin to age differently. Additionally, certain drugs, obesity, diet/lifestyle, habits, exercise, repetitive movements, and family history can also influence how our skin ages. Exposure to radiation (for cancer treatment) can also cause skin changes several years after treatment is complete. Regardless of the reason, as we age, our skin composition changes, and undoubtedly the risk for skin tears increases.

Cheryl Carver's picture
Fairground

By Cheryl Carver, LPN, WCC, CWCA, FACCWS, DAPWCA, CLTC

My approach to long-term care education has always been to have fun and leave a lasting impression so that my audience will learn. Anyone that has been to one of my skin and wound care classes will validate this (*wink wink*).

Margaret Heale's picture

Yy Margaret Heale, RN, MSc, CWOCN

Hi blog buddies, Matron Marley here. I may be an ex-matron, but I may just have some gems for you. Today I would like to cast the threads (strings even) of time back to when I was a new nurse rather than a matron. The reason being the change happened then. I remembered it today when a rather frail lady caught her arm on a door mechanism. It tore such a huge triangle of her delicate skin, and my goodness did it bleed. I put on the gloves I keep in my pocket and pressed several napkins on it while the nurse went for supplies. She returned promptly with gloves, hand gel, gauze, skin prep, saline, cotton swabs, Xeroform, net and Steri-Strips™ (great invention, right up there with Velcro and cyanoacrylate).

Laurie Swezey's picture

By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

Skin tears are a common problem among the elderly due to increased skin fragility associated with aging. Due to the increasing prevalence of this problem, and the potential for poor and/or delayed wound healing in the elderly population, nurses should be aware of prevention strategies for skin tears, as well as management of skin tears once they have occurred.