Posted by: dlip | September 24, 2014

Skincare after a Stroke

This was read on the website of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago – Nursing Practice Council. I thought that certain aspects of it would be useful to share.

After experiencing a stroke, patients may be at risk for skin problems due to decreased movement and feeling. Several types of skin problems can occur:

Sores, blisters, rashes or skin color changes may develop if someone remains sitting or lying in one spot for long periods of time.

Loss of feeling may affect ability to notice contact with something sharp or hot.

Bladder or bowel accidents are special concerns because they can cause the skin to become irritated.

Older people tend to have greater skin problems after a stroke because skin becomes less elastic with age.

Keeping Skin Healthy

Healthy skin is intact, well lubricated with natural oils and nourished by a good blood supply. Skin stays healthy with a balanced diet, good hygiene, regular skin checks and pressure relief. Relieving pressure and checking skin ensures a good blood supply. Skin problems can often be prevented. The following tips will help.


Keep skin clean and dry. Urine, sweat or stool can cause skin breakdown. Bathing every day in a tub or shower may not be necessary and may also wash away natural oils that lubricate the skin. A daily sponge bath, however, is good for exfoliation of dry skin and overall personal hygiene. Always try to keep palm side of affected hand and underarm clean.

Dry well after bathing, but avoid hard rubbing with a towel – it can hurt the skin.

Back rubs can be very relaxing, but should be done with lotion or oil, not alcohol, which is very drying to the skin.

Trim nails regularly and avoid sharp edges or hang nails.

Individuals with diabetes should do self foot care examinations and see a podiatrist regularly.


Eat a healthy diet. Protein, vitamins and iron are especially important. Consult with a nutrition professional for help planning a diet that will meet your needs.

Drink six to eight cups of fluid every day.

Tube feedings are chosen to provide all necessary nutrients.

Pureeing or chopping foods does not change the nutritional value.

Skin inspection

Check skin regularly to spot sores when they are just starting.

Inspect entire body, especially bony areas (see illustrations above).

Check at least twice a day – morning and evening – when you change position. Check more often if increasing sitting or turning times.

Check skin every hour when using new equipment.

Do not depend on others to tell you how your skin looks. If you need help, however, clearly explain what warning signs to look for.

Use a long handled mirror to help with hard to see areas.

Be alert to areas that have been injured and healed. Scar tissue breaks down very easily.

Look for red areas, blisters, openings in the skin or rashes. In red areas, use the back of your stronger hand to feel for heat.

Do not forget to check groin area. Men who wear an external catheter should check genital area for sores or other problems.


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