Fader, M., Clarke-O'Neill, S., Cook, D., Dean, G., Brooks, R., Cottenden, A. and Malone-Lee, J.
Management of night-time urinary incontinence in residential settings for older people: an investigation into the effects of different pad changing regimes on skin health
Journal of Clinical Nursing, 12, (3), .
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Absorbent pads are the main method of managing urinary incontinence in residential settings for older people.
Improvements in technology have resulted in highly absorbent products which may be worn all night, but the effects of prolonged pad wearing on aged skin are unknown.
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of two different pad changing regimes on skin health.
A cross-over design was used.
Subjects from residential settings were randomly allocated to one of two pad changing regimes: a frequent pad changing regime or a less frequent pad changing regime. Each regime lasted 4 weeks and was followed by the alternative regime.
Skin measurements were taken twice during each regime using (i) the Diastron Erythema meter, (ii) a visual grading scale, (iii) the Servomed evaporimeter, and (iv) a pH meter. The primary outcome variable was the Diastron Erythema meter index.
Eighty-one subjects completed the study.
No significant differences were found in the severity of erythema, or skin pH, between regimes. Measurements of trans-epidermal water loss were significantly higher in the less frequent pad changing regime indicating that skin was ‘wetter’ (P = 0.01; 95% CI: 2.89–21.39).
Five subjects developed grade 2 pressure ulcers (abrasions) during the less frequent pad changing regime, but none in the frequent pad changing regime; this result was not significant (P = 0.1; 95% CI: 0–1.09).
No evidence was found that a less frequent pad changing regime has an effect on skin erythema or pH.
• There is evidence that skin is wetter which may make it more vulnerable to friction and abrasion.
• The statistically non-significant finding of greater incidence of grade 2 pressure ulcers is a cause for concern and merits further investigation because of the clinical significance of loss of skin integrity.
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