WOUND & SKIN CARE: Performing a skin assessment
Cathy Thomas Hess BSN, RN, CWOCN

July 2010 
Volume 40  Number 7
Pages 66 - 66
  PDF Version Available!

A SKIN ASSESSMENT captures the patient's general physical condition, based on careful inspection and palpation of the skin and documentation of your findings. Here are some components of a good skin assessment.Obtain a history of the patient's skin condition from the patient, caregiver, or previous medical records. Go over the detailed family history with the patient or patient's family, and make sure all skin conditions are reviewed.Also obtain a history of the patient's bathing routine and skin care products. Document the soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, oils, and other topical products that the patient uses routinely. Ask the patient: * about skin changes such as xerosis (skin dryness), pruritus, wounds, rashes, or changes in skin pigmentation or color * if skin appearance changes with the seasons * about any changes in nail thickness, splitting, discoloration, breaking, and separation from the nail bed. A change in the patient's nails may be a sign of a systemic

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