It is never 'just a skin tear'.
Skin tears may seem harmless but they can develop into complex wounds which may become chronic and cause further complications like pain, infection and delayed healing.
In particular, these injuries typically impact the elderly as the skin is drier, weaker, less elastic and thinner as we age due to increased fat, collagen, elastin deposition and sebum gland secretion.
The Australian population is an ageing population, so it is particularly important to review what skin tears are and what is done to treat these wounds. The International Skin Tear Advisory Panel defines a skin tear to be a wound caused by shear, friction, and/ or blunt force resulting in separation of skin layers.
Prevention should be a top aim within elderly care for such a common injury and can be carried out in some simple methods.
- Emollient therapy
- Wearing protective clothing
However, in the case that skin tears occur treatment is very important to heal and reduce the risk of any further injury.
The ideal dressing, according to ISTAP best practice recommendations should;
- Control bleeding
- Be easy to apply and remove
- Not cause trauma on removal
- Provide a protective anti-shear barrier
- Optimise the physiological healing environment
- Be flexible and mould to contours
- Provide secure, but not aggressive retention
- Afford extended wear time
- Optimise quality of life and cosmetic factors
- Be non-toxic
- Be cost-effective
Luckily, Vital Medical Supplies holds an array of dressings to help you find a dressing suitable for skin tears. We currently recommend Mönlycke and the Mepitel® One range.
Skin tears: Easy to treat with Mepitel® One
One of the biggest challenges in dealing with skin tears can be multiple nurses dealing with the same patient, and unintentionally damaging the skin flap.
No matter how experienced a nurse is in dealing with skin tears, ensuring consistency in the approach to treatment of the wound remains a challenge.
Mepitel One is gentle, durable, and easy to use. It has been redesigned specifically for the treatment of skin tears to include a symbol to indicate the direction of removal.
This guides and supports both the Health Care Worker’s approach to treatment and the wound healing process. Don’t let an acute wound become a serious problem.
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