The Skin Safety Model; A new way of conceptualising skin integrity care

Dr Jill Campbell RN, PhD., NsgCert(Intensive Care), BApp Sc (Nursing), GradCert (Sexual Reproductive Heath), GradDip(Wound Care), MACN1

1 Skin Integrity Clinical Nurse, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital


BACKGROUND: Despite multiple shared risk factors, prevention and management of iatrogenic skin injuries, such as moisture–associated dermatitis or skin tears, is not as comprehensive as the prevention and management of pressure injuries. Contemporary healthcare faces multiple challenges as a result of unsustainable increases in healthcare expenditure, rapidly ageing populations, and changing patterns of disease and disability. These  challenges warrant a new way of conceptualising iatrogenic skin injuries in the acute care setting. However, until now, a conceptual framework unifying skin integrity has been lacking. This paper proposes a new conceptual model for skin safety as a new way of conceptualising skin integrity in older acute care patients.

METHODS: A literature search of electronic databases was conducted for published articles written in English, addressing skin integrity and iatrogenic skin injury in elderly hospital patients between 1960 and 2014.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Skin safety is concerned with keeping skin safe from any iatrogenic skin injury, and remains an ongoing challenge for healthcare providers. The SSM is a comprehensive, holistic conceptual framework that guides the clinician in maintaining skin integrity in the vulnerable older acute care patient.


Jill Campbell; RN, NsgCert(Intensive Care), BApp Sc(Nursing), GradCert (Sexual Reproductive Heath), GradDip(Wound Care), PhD

Jill has been a registered nurse for over 30 years. She has had a diverse career with experience in intensive care, cardiology, women’s health, aged care and wound care.

Currently, she is a Skin Integrity Clinical Nurse at Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital. Her special skin integrity interests are in the area of incontinence- associated dermatitis and skin integrity models of care for older patients.

Jill has recently completed a PhD at Queensland University of Technology. Her doctoral studies investigated the relationship between IAD and Candida infection, as well as conducting the only Australian study exploring the prevalence of incontinence-associated dermatitis in the acute care setting. Her research has resulted in several international publications. In addition, Jill is a co-author on the global IAD consensus document, Incontinence-associated dermatitis: Moving prevention forward.