Incontinence-associated dermatitis, a clinical manifestation of moisture-associated skin damage, is a common consideration in patients with fecal and/or urinary incontinence. Among hospitalized patients, the prevalence rate has been found to be as high as 27%. Exposure to skin surface irritants may be a predictor and the condition, in turn, may be a factor in pressure ulcer risk because skin integrity is compromised. Differential diagnosis, usually based on visual examination, can help determine whether incontinence-associated dermatitis or a pressure ulcer is present. Prevention comprises following a structured skin care regimen that includes gentle cleansing, moisturization, and application of a skin protectant or moisture barrier. Treatment goals include protecting the skin from further exposure to irritants, establishing a healing environment, and eradicating any cutaneous infection. This concise review of relevant literature underscores the scant amount of evidence-based information available and highlights the need for further studies that involve comparing protocol and product efficacy to determine best practice for this oft-encountered condition.
"Despite current research on IAD management, current practice in the community may be less than optimal. It is well known that prevention can reduce substantially the prevalence and incidence of IAD (Lewis-Byers and Thayer, 2002); prevention has also been proven to be cost-effective (Ersser et al, 2005; Gray, 2007; Beeckman et al, 2009). However, prevention is not an easy task; it requires persistent vigilance from health professionals and family members. "
"This neglects an overt clinical problem commonly referred to as incontinence associated dermatitis (IAD). IAD is an irritant or contact type of skin inflammation of the perineal or perigenital region and needs to be clearly distinguished from cutaneous type IV allergies [11,12]. IAD is reported to affect incontinent patients from 5.7% to more than 42% [13,14]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Incontinence associated dermatitis (IAD) is an inflammatory skin disease mainly triggered by prolonged skin contact with urine, feces but also liberal detergent use when cleansing the skin. To minimize the epidermal barrier challenge we optimized the design of adult incontinence briefs. In the fluid absorption area we interposed a special type of acidic, curled-type of cellulose between the top sheet in contact with the skin and the absorption core beneath containing the polyacrylate superabsorber. The intention was to minimize disturbance of the already weak acid mantle of aged skin. We also employed air-permeable side panels to minimize skin occlusion and swelling of the stratum corneum.
The surface pH of diapers was measured after repeated wetting with a urine substitute fluid at the level of the top sheet. Occlusive effects and hydration of the stratum corneum were measured after a 4 hour application of different side panel materials by corneometry on human volunteers. Finally, we evaluated skin symptoms in 12 patients with preexisting IAD for 21 days following the institutional switch to the optimized diaper design. Local skin care protocols remained in place unchanged.
The improved design created a surface pH of 4.6 which was stable even after repeated wetting throughout a 5 hour period. The "standard design" briefs had values of 7.1, which is alkaline compared to the acidic surface of normal skin. Side panels made from non-woven material with an air-permeability of more than 1200 l/m2/s avoided excessive hydration of the stratum corneum when compared to the commonly employed air-impermeable plastic films. Resolution of pre-existing IAD skin lesions was noted in 8 out of 12 patients after the switch to the optimized brief design.
An improved design of adult-type briefs can create an acidic pH on the surface and breathable side panels avoid over-hydration of the stratum corneum and occlusion. This may support the epidermal barrier function and may help to reduce the occurrence of IAD.
"However, empirical evidence suggests that there are serious problems regarding differentiation between superficial pressure ulcers and moisture lesions (e.g. Defloor et al. 2006, Beeckman et al. 2007, Gray et al. 2007). Accurate distinction between both lesions is deemed important because prevention and treatment strategies differ (Defloor "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to examine interrater reliability and agreement of the diagnosis of moisture lesions as defined by the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel.
Differentiation between superficial pressure ulcers and moisture-related skin damages is difficult. To enhance the precision of the identification of moisture lesions, the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel provided wound- and patient-related characteristics. Empirical evidence regarding interrater reliability and agreement among nurses for the detection of moisture-related skin damages in clinical practice is lacking.
Home care clients (n = 339) were independently assessed twice by trained nurses. A head to toe skin inspection was conducted.
For the diagnosis of moisture lesion (yes/no), nurses exactly agreed in 95% of all assessed clients. Interrater reliability was intraclass correlation coefficient (1,1) = 0.67 (95% CI 0.61-0.73).
Nurses were able to differentiate between home care clients with and without moisture lesions but assessment results contained a high degree of measurement error. It seems that the descriptions for the identification of moisture lesions provided by the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel do support the diagnostic process but reliability must be enhanced.
Because of low interrater reliability, it is questionable whether the diagnosis of moisture lesions in clinical practice is valid. Measurement error is too high to make adequate inferences for individuals. Definitions and descriptions provided by the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, provisions of a single training and images are not sufficient to achieve acceptable interrater reliability in clinical practice.
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