The incidence of skin tears in Care Homes is very high. No statistics are published but we have calculated from academic research that there is an average of 1.58 skin tears per annum amongst people of 70 years old and more.
We also know from our customers experiences that many older people suffer two skin tears per week.
Thinning skin and the subsequent skin tears are an ailment that is little known about because there are no statistics and the problem is not ‘collectively’ acknowledged. It’s important to acknowledge the methods we can take in order to prevent arm and leg skin tear, both short term and long.
We have developed DERMATUff Thin Skin Protection Socks & Sleeves that can be identified as a skin tear solution, which have a dramatic effect on stopping skin tears amongst wearers. In trials carried out by ourselves about three years ago there was a reduction of 97%. In two evaluations recently completed in the East Devon area amongst vulnerable people living in the community skin tears were completely eliminated. The results of these evaluations will be published shortly.
For the time being our skin tear prevention products are being sold successfully on our website and there are now at least 2000 people who were originally serious sufferers from skin tears who no longer experience these problems. We can offer both arm and leg skin tear prevention solutions, either in the form of a sock or an arm sleeve. The products are being purchased mostly by private individuals living in their own homes or quite often by their children who can’t bear to see the continuous suffering of their elderly folk. “Many people caring for elderly family members worry greatly about them bumping themselves and getting skin tears, they would much rather stop skin tears in the first place than deal with them afterwards, DERMATUff is a way to do this”.
The interesting thing is that we very rarely get any purchases made by people within Care Homes or by the owners or staff of Care Homes. To me as an outsider to the industry this seems to be truly remarkable. Not only must it be cost-effective to have a simple remedy costing £30 a pair of socks or sleeves, which have been designed with skin tear prevention in mind; they can prevent skin tears for at least a year and probably up to three or four years (I have been using my own now for three years) but also eliminates the suffering, stress and hassle.
At the initiation of our project it seemed to us to be obvious that Care Homes would be anxious and immediate buyers, but this is absolutely not the case, instead they appear to be culturally opposed in this country. It must be something to do with the risk averseness of the health community, but what risk can there be when the products are registered as a Class 1 Medical Device?
We think that in fact the real cause must be that when this solution is proposed within a Care Home which is subject to CQC inspections and the inbuilt question from medical staff “has this had a proper clinical trial” On the answer “not yet” then the usual negativity arises. The fact that it is obviously counter common sense seems to be unimportant when compared with the minute risk of getting into trouble for doing some harm to somebody. We used to be a country of risk takers, in business one has to do that all the time, the minute possible risk has to be judged against the massive possible gain.Not so in other countries I’m pleased to say, we are dealing with Care Homes abroad who have a very positive attitude.
We gave up trying to sell to Care Homes about three years ago but in a flash of recent enthusiasm encouraged by an excellent team of District Nurses we were recently tempted to try again only to find that the same situation still exists. Tremendous enthusiasm about the intention to order which mysteriously fades away.
We are currently in the process of going through an application to the Drugs Tariff to have our products listed and a proper clinical trial is going on but this will not finish for a further year yet, we hope that this will change attitudes towards this completely obvious solution. In the meantime if anybody can suggest what we can do to get over this inexplicable resistance for the sake of all those sufferers we would love to do something co-operative about it.
Let’s do what we can to avoid this in the future.