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Pearls
87 (
5
); 746-747
doi:
10.25259/IJDVL_781_20
pmid:
33871196

“Paint the back”: A simple tool for geriatric patients to self-apply topical medications on their back

Department of Dermatology, Hospital Santa Casa de Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Corresponding author: Dr. Gerson Dellatorre, Department of Dermatology, Hospital Santa Casa de Curitiba, Alameda Prudente de Moraes, 1250, Curitiba, Paraná 80430-220, Brazil. dellatorre@gmail.com
Licence
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

How to cite this article: Sakiyama PH, Dellatorre G. “Paint the back”: A simple tool for geriatric patients to self-apply topical medications on their dorsum. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2021;87:746-7.

Problem

Pruritus is a common, disabling problem in geriatric patients with profound impact on their quality of life. Xerotic and neurogenic itch are the common variants, frequently affecting the trunk.1,2 Dermatologists often prescribe moisturizers and topical corticosteroids as adjuvant therapy, however treatment compliance remains limited as most elderly patients have physical inabilities in reaching the skin of their dorsal trunk. This situation is worsened in patients living alone (more pertinent recently due to Covid-19 pandemic).3

Solution

We describe a simple method for applying topical formulations on the back by using a foam paint roller [Figure 1 and video 1]. It is a low-cost, widely available and washable tool which may be used for applying topical products in hard-to-reach areas. Furthermore, commercially available extensors can be adapted to the foam paint roller handle to reach inaccessible areas e.g., central portion of back, if necessary.

Figure 1a:: Hard-to-reach central area of the back
Figure 1b:: Preparing foam paint roller with an illustrative topical medication
Figure 1c:: Product application
Figure 1d:: Good coverage of the back

Video 1

Our strategy is safe to apply products, such as emollients, in liberal quantities. However, cautious use is recommended for topical application of certain medications over large surface areas, to avoid risk of systemic toxicity. Thus, one must strictly adhere to the maximum permissible quantity of each product. The proposed technique can assist patients, particularly the elderly, to apply adequate amount of topical medications over restricted areas, to ensure a favorable treatment outcome.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

  1. , , . Pruritus in the older patient: A clinical review. JAMA. 2013;310:2443-50.
    [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  2. , . A clinical study of skin changes in geriatric population. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2009;75:305-6.
    [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  3. , . COVID-19 and the consequences of isolating the elderly. Lancet Public Health. 2020;5:e256.
    [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]

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