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

Cowdell, Fiona; Dyson, Judith; Long, Judith; Macleod, Una


Fiona Cowdell

Judith Dyson

Judith Long


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 less than .05.
Many community‐dwelling older people suffer from 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.


Cowdell, F., Dyson, J., Long, J., & Macleod, U. (2018). Self-reported skin concerns: An epidemiological study of community-dwelling older people. International journal of older people nursing, 13(3), e12195.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 15, 2018
Online Publication Date Mar 25, 2018
Publication Date Sep 1, 2018
Deposit Date Nov 6, 2018
Publicly Available Date Mar 26, 2019
Print ISSN 1748-3735
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 3
Article Number e12195
Pages e12195
Keywords Community dwelling; Epidemiology; Nursing; Older people; Self-report; Skin health
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Nov 6, 2018


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