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Research project: An investigation into friction, sheer and interface pressures of continence products - Dormant - Dormant

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Incontinence dermatitis is a condition that commonly affects users of absorbent continence products.


In babies and young children this is known as nappy or diaper rash and is generally acute and easily recognisable. However, in incontinent adults and older people the aetiology of skin health problems may be complicated by increased risk of developing pressure ulcers due to factors such as reduced mobility.

Skin health problems may therefore be a combination of dermatitis and pressure/friction damage, yet the nature of adult incontinence related skin health problems has not been adequately described (Gray et al 2007). Furthermore, although absorbent continence pads are the most commonly used method for managing incontinence in adults the effects on skin health have not been investigated.

The project consists of the following modules: 

  • Literature review: the nature of incontinence-related skin problems.
  • Exploration of the nature of commonly seen incontinence related skin problems and preliminary testing and development of a tool to monitor skin health problems.

Investigation of the effects that absorbent pads have on i) interface pressures and ii) friction.

Main question(s)

1. What is the nature of skin problems experienced by individuals who wear incontinence pads?
2. How might pad design, construction and materials affect skin health?


Observation, experiment.
Main outcomes
Measurement of skin health.

Project team

Mandy Fader

Project funder

Smith and Nephew Foundation

Related research groups

Active Living and Rehabilitation
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