A new program for acute treatment of skin tears may help reduce wound healing times and healthcare costs.

The pilot program was tested at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, Australia, as a response to the increasing number of emergency skin tears treated among the elderly population.

Elderly patients with skin tears were previously treated using a “traditional conservative approach” involving irrigation and adhesive dressings. 

That approach brought risk of prolonged hospital stay and reduced mobility for elderly patients noted John Vandervord, MBBS, head of the Department of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at RNSH.

The hospital’s updated referral and treatment approach defines skin tears as medical emergencies, which ensures a timely assessment of injuries and referral to a specialist, and optimizes healing time.

Patients treated using the new system saw a reduction in healing time from 17 days to 11, and a decrease in inpatient stay from 12.2 days to 1.5. 

Results of the pilot study appear in the February issue of the International Wound Journal