Head to Toe Assessment

E- Assessing your elderly family member/patient is very important. Recently I have been covering the early morning/shower shift so I have been checking out our parents from head to toe. Early detection of skin changes, red areas or swelling of one limb/joint can prevent a trip to the ER. 

Skin changes on the scalp, ears and area between the skin on the face and lips may indicate early skin cancer. These areas are always exposed to sun and common locations for skin cancer. Early detection can often be treated on an out patient basis versus surgery which is far less invasive. 

A red, swollen area to an otherwise clothed location (back of the leg or the back) can indicate a bug bite or any cause of cellulitis (skin infection). If untreated cellulitis can lead to a significant infection that may not be detected until fever occurs and the ER undresses the patient to find the original cause. 

So if you're not in charge of daily hygiene please make sure that your caregiver is checking out your loved one from head to toe!