A Quasi-experimental Study to Explore the Effect of Barrier Cream on the Peristomal Skin of Patients With a Tracheostomy

Karaca T., KORKMAZ F.

OSTOMY WOUND MANAGEMENT, vol.64, no.3, pp.32-39, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 64 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.25270/owm.2018.3.3239
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.32-39
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Peristomal skin problems represent one of the most common complications of a tracheostomy. A quasi-experimental study was conducted among patients ages 18 to 65 years hospitalized in a Turkish university hospital ear-nose-throat clinic between August 15, 2013, and December 15, 2013, to compare the effect of using or not using a barrier cream on the peristomal skin with regard to pH, moisture, temperature, color, odor, turgor, infections, and lesions after tracheostomy surgery. Patients were selected using a purposeful sampling method and included if they had not undergone another operation for a complication (eg, pneumothorax, tube misplacement, hemorrhage) within 24 hours following the tracheostomy operation. In phase 1 of the study, 9 registered nurses were observed 3 times each by the researcher, who completed an observation form. From these observations and related nursing textbooks, the researcher developed a protocol entitled "Nursing Care Steps for Patients with a Tracheostomy." This protocol was followed during phase 2 of the study during which participants were alternately assigned to either the intervention (a barrier cream containing dimethicone, acrylate terpolymer, oils, paraffin, water, dicapryladipate, isopropyl palmitate, and PPG-15 stearyl ether followed by gauze) or control (gauze only) group (n = 30 each) and observed for 7 days. Demographic characteristics were gathered for each patient upon admission to the study. Peristomal skin was assessed in terms of pH, temperature, and moisture (relative humidity [RH]) using a surface pH meter, surface thermometer, and digital skin moisture tester, as well as for lesions, infection, and maceration. Findings were documented on a skin condition assessment form. Twenty-four (24) hours post surgery, the barrier cream plus gauze was applied over peristomal area in the study group and gauze dressing only in the control group. Peristomal skin pH, moisture, and temperature were within the normal range for both groups during all observations throughout the study but closer to normal ranges in the intervention group. Mean peristomal skin pH in the intervention group was significantly higher (5.452 +/- 0.043) than in the control group (5.123 +/- 0.057; P <. 001), mean peristomal skin moisture in the control group (46.90 +/- 0.132 RH) was significantly greater than in the intervention group (41.71 +/- 0.774 RH; P <. 001), and mean peristomal skin temperature in the control group (33.59 +/- 1.3 degrees C) was significantly higher than in the intervention group (31.64 +/- 0.607 degrees C; P <. 001). In both groups, Staphylococcus epidermidis was the most commonly cultured microorganism, and S aureus was the most cultured pathological microorganism in addition to the normal skin flora. Peristomal skin condition was maintained for both the intervention and control groups. Use of a barrier cream to protect tracheostomy peristomal skin beneath absorbent dressings (eg, gauze) is recommended, but additional short-term and long-term studies are needed.