Q:

How do you prevent skin tears on the elderly?

A:

Quick Answer

Though skin tears can be very painful among the elderly, they can be easily prevented. Skin tears occur when the dermis and the epidermis separate from each other, forming a partial thickness which causes a flap above the open dermis.

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How do you prevent skin tears on the elderly?
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Full Answer

Older skin is sometimes very frail and thin, making it easy to sustain an injury and taking longer to heal. To prevent skin tears, the elderly should put on long-sleeve pants and shirts to protect their proximities. They should use protective moisturizers at least twice per day to prevent pressure injuries and skin tears, especially on dry skin on the legs and arms.

Elderly people should maintain enough nutritional intake that includes a lot of fluids. If need be, a registered dietitian or a nutritionist should be consulted. Dressings should be secured with wraps, such as stockinette and gauze wraps, rather than tapes. However, if tapes must be used, paper tapes are more convenient, and they must be removed gently.

Adequate light should be provided for the elderly to prevent falls which may lead to skin injuries and tears. In addition, pain management for the elderly should be properly initiated because infections and skin tears are normally associated with pain.

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