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Keeping Skin Strong in Residential Aged Care

Researchers: Rajna Ogrin, Kylie Elder
Study population: Residential Aged Care
Funding support: A private donor.
Duration: 2020-2021

Chronic wounds are debilitating and costly to manage. While the literature is likely underreporting, it has been estimated that there are about 400,000 cases of chronic wounds in hospital and residential care settings in Australia each year, (Graves & Zheng, 2014). Chronic wounds are more common in older people. Skin tears are particularly common in residents living in Residential Aged Care (RAC) and can lead to serious and painful chronic wounds. Bolton Clarke undertook a skin audit in 2019 and identified skin tears to be the most prevalent types of wounds in residents of its RACs.

There is a way to reduce prevalence of skin tears. A Western Australian study, including 14 RACs with 980 beds, used twice daily moisturiser application on RAC resident extremities applied by paid carers to reduce skin tear prevalence by 50% in these residents (Carville, Leslie, Osseiran-Moisson, Newall, & Lewin, 2014).

For this prevention program to benefit all residents of RAC, we need a way of getting this program to them, so that it can be provided systematically and sustainably. Currently, there are no standard approaches for implementing this preventive approach in RAC. RAC residents, RAC staff, Bolton Clarke clinical experts and Bolton Clarke Research Institute researchers will work together to identify the best ways to embed this proven approach to prevent skin tears in RAC, implement then evaluate the approach.

This project aims to codesign an implementation approach to translate evidence into practice in residential aged care, implementing twice daily moisturisers – once developed, this framework could be used to implement any evidence-based intervention in RAC. If successful, the developed approach could then be used as a basis for any new innovation implementation to ensure that as many residents of RAC as possible would benefit from new innovations in a timely and sustainable way.