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Senior Skin Health: What you need to know
Posted by Dr. Joshua Fox

Senior Skin Health: What you need to know
Posted by Dr. Joshua Fox on November 8, 2021

Getting older brings plenty of changes, not the least of which are changes in the skin. These changes of the skin range from merely uncomfortable conditions, such as dryness and itching, to potentially life-threatening illnesses, such as skin cancer.

Ensuring the elderly get seen by a dermatologist is essential. However, organizing a trip to the dermatologist’s office for residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities is cumbersome, logistically challenging, and inefficient. A much better method is available for providing dermatology care for residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities that eliminates the need for residents to leave their rooms. Eldercare Dermatology sends dermatology experts to the patient’s bedside to diagnose, treat, and prescribe a wide variety of skin conditions. This removes any hassle or stress on the nursing home and takes away the need for residents to travel.

“Eldercare Dermatology is a division of Advanced Dermatology which fills a genuine need in the geriatric population. Seniors face a unique set of skin problems, many of which require ongoing dermatologic care”, says Chris Byrne, a physician assistant at Advanced Dermatology and director of the Eldercare Dermatology division. He explains that “As we get older, our skin gets thinner, due to declining collagen levels and a drop in the production of lipids, which give the skin its protective barrier. At the same time, capillaries become more fragile, causing a diminished supply of blood in the skin, leading to an increased susceptibility to bruising. Immunity also declines with aging, which leaves seniors more susceptible to onychomycosis (toenail fungus), candidiasis (yeast infections), shingles (a viral infection), and certain types of malignant tumors”.

Chris adds that on top of this, “years of cumulative damage—from sun exposure and other factors—mean that senior skin is much more likely to develop cancer as well as benign conditions such as skin tags and the rough, scaly patches known as actinic keratosis.”

Senior care facilities participating in the Eldercare Dermatology program have fully qualified dermatology specialists to come to the resident’s bedside to evaluate and treat any skin problems. Additionally, Eldercare Dermatology always has a dermatologist on call if there is an urgent need for dermatology care. “This type of geriatric dermatology care makes it much easier for the patient as well as the patient’s family and caretakers,” says Sara Orlian, patient care coordinator at Eldercare Dermatology, “Elderly residents don’t have to be transported anywhere, thereby making the whole experience much more pleasurable.” Advanced Dermatology’s specialists have treated a long list of skin concerns for their Eldercare nursing-home patients, including basal and squamous cell cancers, as well as the two most common skin complaints among the elderly- xerosis (dry skin) and pruritus (itching).

During these visits, specialists can diagnose and treat various skin conditions and perform biopsies and cryosurgery (freezing skin) to remove lesions ranging from skin tags and warts to cancerous growths. “The program lets us deliver top-quality care while preserving the patient’s comfort and dignity,” Byrne says. He then adds, “and consequently allows the senior care facility to provide the best possible care for their residents.”

Eldercare Dermatology is currently available at Chapin Home for the Aging, Huntington Hills Center for Health and Rehabilitation, Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehab, Maria Regina Residence, Meadowbrook Care Center, Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home, St. Johnland Nursing Center Inc., Union Plaza Care Center, and Woodhaven Nursing Home. For more information or to become a participating facility of Eldercare Dermatology, check out our website here (www.EldercareDermatology.com) or call 516-418-9078.

Christopher Byrne, MPAS, RPA, has been a Certified Physician Assistant at Advanced Dermatology and the Center for Laser & Cosmetic Surgery since 2004. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from New York University and his Bachelor of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the New York Institute of Technology. Mr. Byrne also completed a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies with a concentration in dermatology from the University of Nebraska School of Medicine.

Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies.

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