Incontinence-associated skin amage in nursing home residents: A secondary analysis of a prospective, multicenter study

Donna Zimmaro Bliss, Cindy Zehrer, Kay Savik, Debra Thayer, Graham Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Scopus citations


More than half of the nursing home population is incontinent of urine or feces, presenting challenges to perineal skin health. To determine the occurrence and severity of skin damage in nursing home residents with incontinence, a secondary analysis of data collected from a multisite, open-label, quasi-experimental study of cost and efficacy of four regimens for preventing incontinence-associated dermatitis in nursing home residents was performed. Sixteen randomly selected nursing homes from across the US were included in the study. Participating nursing home residents were incontinent of urine and/or feces and free of skin damage. Of the 1,918 persons screened, 51% (n = 981) qualified for prospective surveillance. Perineal skin was assessed over a 6-week period; frequency, type, and severity of skin damage were observed. Skin damage developed after a median of 13 (range 6 to 42) days in 45 out of 981 residents (4.6%), of which 3.4% was determined to be incontinence-associated dermatitis. Some residents (14 out of 45, 31%) had incontinence-associated dermatitis or other skin damage in more than one area. This study is one of the first to report the characteristics of incontinence-associated dermatitis in a large sample of nursing home residents. The sample size and random selection of nursing homes impart generalizability to the findings. Incontinenceassociated dermatitis is a risk in nursing home residents, especially those with fecal incontinence. These findings suggest that the rate and severity of incontinenceassociated dermatitis are low with close monitoring and use of a defined skin care regimen that includes a pH-balanced cleanser and moisture barrier.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalOstomy/wound management
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006

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