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  1. Boswell, Nicole MSN, RNC
  2. Waker, Cheryl L. PhD, RN, NE-BC


Background: Nurses have a primary role in promoting neonatal skin integrity and skin care management of the critically ill neonate. Adhesive products are essential to secure needed medical devices but can be a significant factor contributing to skin breakdown. Current literature does not offer a definitive answer regarding which products most safely and effectively work to secure needed devices in the high-risk neonatal population.


Purpose: To determine which adhesive method is best practice to safely and effectively secure lines/tubes in the high-risk neonate population.


Findings/Results: The only main effect that was significant was age group with mean skin scores. Subjects in the younger group (24-28 weeks) had higher skin scores than in the older group (28-34 weeks), validating that younger gestations are at higher risk of breakdown with the use of adhesives.


Implications for Practice: The findings did not clearly identify which product was superior to secure tubes and lines, or was the least injurious to skin of the high-risk neonate. Neither a transparent dressing only or transparent dressing over hydrocolloid method clearly demonstrated an advantage in the high-risk, preterm neonate. Anecdotal comments suggested staff preferred the transparent dressing over hydrocolloid method as providing better adhesive while protecting skin integrity. The findings validated that younger gestations are at higher risk of breakdown with the use of adhesives and therefore require close vigilance to maintain skin integrity.