Psoriasis: How to help residents be comfortable

Millions of Americans struggle with living in their own skin due to psoriasis. August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. This chronic autoimmune skin disease, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, affects more than 8 million people in this nation. It is caused when the top layer of the skin grows faster than the body can shed it. In a process of regeneration that should take weeks, new skin cells are formed within days due to an overactive immune system. This results in inflamed thick, red patches of skin called plaques developing on the body. Some people with psoriasis may also experience itchiness and pain.

Psoriasis often appears between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can develop at any age. Symptoms of the disease can increase and decrease in intensity with worsening symptoms occurring during flare-us. Flare-ups can be triggered by a number of factors such as stress, infections, some medications and cold or dry weather. There is no permanent cure for the condition and it can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. In addition to being uncomfortable, the appearance of psoriasis plaques can affect self-esteem and cause depression. Traditional psoriasis treatment involves topical, oral and injectable medications. In addition to helping manage their medication, direct care workers play an important role in improving the quality of life for residents with psoriasis. They can help reduce the risk of flare-ups by assessing for factors linked to triggering psoriasis. By providing support and holistic care, they can decrease the risk of residents with psoriasis developing comorbidities linked to the condition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Most importantly, direct care workers provide daily help for residents to cope better with living in their own skin.

Residents with psoriasis, especially older ones, need to pay special attention to skincare. As skin ages, it becomes thinner, drier and loses fat and elasticity. Older skin is more vulnerable to irritation and damage. Medications and chronic health conditions can also make skin more susceptible to bruising and bleeding. Skin injuries can trigger psoriasis flare-ups. It’s important to have a hygiene routine for residents with psoriasis that protects their skin. Bathing is important for cleanliness and providing a sense of freshness. However, daily bathing can wreak havoc on older skin, washing away oils and sapping moisture. Showers or baths every other day are less harsh on the skin. When bathing residents, using hot water and harsh, heavily perfumed soaps can promote dryness. It’s better to use warm water and mild soaps that have no scent at all. After bathing, the skin should be patted dry with a clean towel to reduce friction against delicate skin. Moisturizing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to soothe a resident’s irritated skin. It can help promote healing and reduce dryness, itching, redness and soreness. Daily application of moisturizers like thick lotions and creams immediately after bathing add and help retain moisture.

Residents should also be encouraged to adopt some lifestyle changes to help manage their psoriasis. A healthy diet, smoking cessation and avoiding stress can reduce the likelihood of flare-ups. Direct care workers can educate residents about foods that exacerbate psoriasis symptoms. Residents should also be advised to quit smoking. Residents with depression or experiencing stress should be instructed in relaxation techniques or encouraged to seek support. Lifestyle changes and careful skincare can help residents with psoriasis improve their quality of life and live more easily in their own skin.

Turenne PharMedCo Medical Supply Services provides quality soaps, body washes, ointments, creams and lotions for all your residents’ skincare needs. To learn more about how you can protect their skin, click here.

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