Chronic conditions and age-related changes place older adults at increased risk for skin breakdown and damage to skin integrity, leading to poor outcomes that may impact quality of life. Although we cannot stop skin from aging, home care clinicians are in the best position to mitigate further skin problems and influence healthier outcomes for patients with skin issues.
Home healthcare clinicians can improve skin health and well-being for older adults by incorporating simple but thorough systematic skin assessments at every visit. This includes identifying the patient’s personal skin care practices and preferences. Home healthcare clinicians can intervene and address excessive moisture or extreme dryness of skin, use available resources for best practices in wound care, and educate about sun protection.
Although the home care clinician’s role is often multifaceted, the primary reason for visiting the patient may not be related to their skin, yet many of these chronic conditions indirectly affect the skin’s surface. Thus, in order to provide the best evidence-based home healthcare to older patients, clinicians must adequately assess all skin surfaces, not just what is readily visible.