Self-reported skin concerns: An epidemiological study of community-dwelling older people

Cowdell, Fiona and Dyson, Judith and Long, Judith and Macleod, Una (2018) Self-reported skin concerns: An epidemiological study of community-dwelling older people. International Journal of Older People Nursing, 13 (3). e12195. ISSN 1748-3735

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Globally the population is getting older and it is essential to develop effective interventions to promote healthy ageing. Skin change with age is inevitable and renders this often neglected organ more vulnerable to damage and breakdown; this can be costly to individuals and society. Maintenance of skin health in older people presents a health challenge that has yet to be fully understood or addressed.
To identify the frequency and impact of self-reported skin concerns in community-dwelling older people.
Cross sectional, self-reported questionnaire survey in England. Patients registered with participating general practices (n=3), aged ≥ 70 years, living in their own homes and able to give informed consent (n=3359) were sent a letter of invitation to a free health and care assessment and 1116 responded.
Data were collected from August 2015 - January 2016. An adapted version of the validated EASYCare Standard 2010 questionnaire was completed by self-report.
When asked “do you have any concerns about your skin?” 16.5% (n=183) said yes. Of this group the most common concerns were dry skin 80.7% (n=146), itching 56.9% (n=103) and aged appearance 61% (n=113). Itch, dry skin and inflammation were rated as most bothersome. There was a significant association between the dry skin and itch χ2(1) = 6.9, p<0.05.

Many community-dwelling older people suffer with skin concerns predominantly dry skin and itching that is often bothersome.
Implications for practice
Skin health assessment is often absent in routine consultations with community-dwelling older people. Dry, itchy skin is prevalent and can be simply managed with low-cost interventions. This has the potential to reduce suffering and maintain or improve skin barrier function. Nurses and other health professionals should therefore routinely assess and advise on skin health care for this population.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
16 February 2018Accepted
25 March 2018Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: Community dwelling, epidemiology, nursing, older people, self-report, skin health
Subjects: CAH02 - subjects allied to medicine > CAH02-04 - nursing and midwifery > CAH02-04-01 - nursing (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Social Care, Health and Related Research (C-SHARR)
Depositing User: Fiona Cowdell
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2018 08:14
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 17:15

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