Medical adhesives play a critical role in patient care, as they are used by virtually every medical specialty in all care settings and among all age groups. Yet despite their meaningful impact to healthcare delivery, little guidance exists to date regarding appropriate selection and proper use of adhesive products to minimize medical adhesive-related skin injury (MARSI). MARSI has become a prevalent but under recognized complication that is believed to impact at least 1.5 million patients annually in the U.S., 1,2 contributing to significant costs per incident.
In an effort to address the gap, a consensus document was published this month from 23 recognized key opinion leaders who convened to explore the assessment, prevention and treatment of MARSI. The thought leaders across multiple medical disciplines gathered in December 2012 for a two-day roundtable discussion based in St. Paul, Minn. The summit was made possible by an unrestricted educational grant from 3M Critical & Chronic Care Solutions. The document is titled “Medical Adhesives and Patient Safety: State of the Science: Consensus Statements for the Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment of Adhesive-related Skin Injuries”, and appears in the July/August issue of the Journal of Wound Ostomy & Continence Nursing.
The document details 24 consensus statements and suggests additional areas for research. Among its key points:
- Expert opinion suggests that choosing the right adhesive products and using proper application techniques can help minimize MARSI.
- It is recommended that clinicians consider the role of skin tension and anticipate skin and joint movement when selecting and applying medical adhesive products.
- Expert opinion recommends that adhesive-containing products be stored and used in a manner that prevents contamination, and that single-patient-use products are used whenever possible.
Specialties represented at the summit funded by 3M included critical care; dermatology; electrophysiology; geriatrics; infection control; infusion therapy; neonatology; oncology; orthopedics; pediatrics; perioperative; physical therapy; plastics; research; and wound, ostomy and continence. Researchers in the area of skin and wound care, including pressure ulcers, were also among the invited participants.