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Keywords:

  • adhesive tape;
  • contact dermatitis;
  • incidence rate;
  • older people;
  • skin injury

Aim and objectives.  This study was designed to investigate the status of skin injuries in older individuals caused by adhesive tape and the associated factors for skin injury.

Background.  Older individuals are susceptible to skin injuries caused by medical adhesive tape. However, the current status of such skin injuries and the associated factors involved has not been clearly elucidated.

Design.  Prospective cohort design, using comparative and descriptive statistical tests.

Methods.  The subjects were 155 patients aged 65 or older who were admitted to a long-term care facility and required the use of medical adhesive tape. Patients who showed no skin injuries were selected and the incidence rate and status of skin injuries that occurred during the eight-week study period were investigated. The skin injuries observed were classified by a dermatologist. The associated factors were examined statistically. Informed consent was obtained from all patients.

Results.  Skin injuries developed at 34 sites in 24 subjects. The cumulative incidence rate was 15·5%, and the incidence density was 38·0/1000 person-days. Many of the skin injuries occurred around pressure ulcers and intravenous hyperalimentation sites. Other prevalent areas included the buttocks and back, where tape is commonly used. The skin injuries were classified as contact dermatitis (70·6%), trauma (20·6%) and infection (8·8%). The ratio of skin contamination and skin mobility in patients with contact dermatitis was significantly higher than in patients without skin injury.

Conclusion.  The highest incidence rate was observed in the buttock area of patients with pressure ulcers. The incidence rate of contact dermatitis was the highest.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Skin care to minimise contamination and more effective ways of applying medical adhesive tape may be needed to prevent contact dermatitis.