Incontinence-associated dermatitis in the critically ill patient: an intensive care perspective

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Abstract

Background:

Incontinence-associated dermatitis is a skin disorder evident as a complication of incontinence. It is characterized by perineal, buttock and groin erythema and skin breakdown. Incontinence-associated dermatitis is a ubiquitous, nosocomial condition commonly present in critically ill patients in the intensive care unit. Critically ill patients, by the nature of their critical illness and therapies used to treat their presenting condition, are commonly predisposed to faecal incontinence and are consequently at high risk of developing incontinence-associated dermatitis. However, this condition is under-explored and under-reported in the intensive care literature.

Objective:

The aim of this paper is to provide a review of the literature relating to incontinence-associated dermatitis from the critically ill patients in the intensive care setting.

Discussion:

There is a paucity of literature addressing this condition in the intensive care context, with only 11 studies identified. This paper will provide an overview of the definitions, prevalence and incidence of incontinence-associated dermatitis. Furthermore, an exposition of incontinence-associated dermatitis from the critically ill patient and intensive care nursing perspectives will be presented through a review of the skin barrier function, clinical presentation, risk factors, clinical assessment and severity categorization, prevention and management of incontinence-associated dermatitis.

Conclusion:

It is imperative that critical care nurses have an appreciation of incontinence-associated dermatitis as a common, yet preventable condition, and are equipped with knowledge to appropriately prevent and manage this common complication.

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