The forgotten skin patients

The old lady lies with diaper and nylon tights in bed. She is scratching, the itching is unbearable. The 85-year-old can barely move. And she is not an isolated case. The situation in old people's homes is often difficult for both patients and caregivers. "Time for the right skincare, physical touch or conversations hardly remains, " says dr. Wolfgang Lensing from Hannover. Attention, the old people and their skin is missing.

The skin in old age is different

"Itching is often the most painful problem for people in old people's homes, " explains the experienced dermatologist. The skin of older people is significantly different from young skin. The moisture and fat content drops, the skin dries up and begins to itch. Synthetic fiber clothing and washing with liquid soaps put extra strain on the skin. It is becoming more susceptible to infections. Dr. Lensing: "In a healthy, well-greased skin can hardly penetrate bacteria or itch mites, with age skin, however, they have easy game."

Which problems occur?

As you age, the skin layers become thinner and more sensitive. The use of medications such as cardiac or tranquilizers promote excessive sweating or itching. As a result of a lack of movement, eczema forms in body folds, thrombosis or even open spots on the legs, so-called ulcers. Pressure points (decubitis) are also a common problem in older patients who can no longer turn and turn themselves or in which the nerves no longer pass on the information of the skin, so that the patients do not realize that they need to turn. "Old people are the greatest medical challenge, they need the most comprehensive medical care and must not be deported to a minimum care, " said Dr. med. Lensing. Why is a patient no longer turning and sore? First, basic medical conditions must be clarified. Care mistakes are not always the cause of ulcers. Reasons for this may be, for example, a dementia syndrome, iron deficiency anemia or kidney failure, such as when the patients are not drinking enough. Often only a blood test reveals the true reason.

What should relatives do?

"As soon as changes on the skin are seen, relatives should call a specialist, " advises Dr. Lensing. In some homes, there is already a dermatologist of trust for all residents. A good regulation, because home visits are almost no longer paid. Therefore, you should first ask the nursing staff, if a dermatologist is responsible for the home. The medical association also provides information about which dermatologist in the vicinity makes home visits to retirement homes. Often, however, the rubbing and scratching of the skin is also a reaction of humans to the threatening "ego loss" due to lack of physical contact and social relationships. The tip from the dermatologist: For Christmas give no care series! "Attention is not shower gel and perfume, but conversation and loving touch."

Allergies - even among nursing staff - on the rise

For the nursing staff too, the many different care products mean that they have to come into contact with each other over the course of a day thanks to well-intentioned gifts. Allergies in caregivers increase considerably and can force to the professional task.

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