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

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

Authors

Fiona Cowdell

Judith Dyson

Judith Long



Abstract

Background
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.
Aim
To identify the frequency and impact of self-reported skin concerns in community-dwelling older people.
Methods
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.
Methods
Data were collected from August 2015 - January 2016. An adapted version of the validated EASYCare Standard 2010 questionnaire was completed by self-report.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2018
Print ISSN 1748-3735
Electronic ISSN 1748-3743
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 3
Article Number e12195
Pages e12195
APA6 Citation 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. https://doi.org/10.1111/opn.12195
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/opn.12195
Keywords Community dwelling; Epidemiology; Nursing; Older people; Self-report; Skin health
Publisher URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1748-3743
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