Prevalence of skin disease among nursing home patients in southern Taiwan

Int J Dermatol. 2002 Nov;41(11):754-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-4362.2002.01425.x.


Background: Continuing advances in medical care and nutrition have prolonged the lifespan and expanded the elderly demographic world-wide. Despite increasing elderly populations within Taiwanese nursing homes, there has been a lack of dermatologic surveys, and the prevalence of skin conditions within this group is unknown.

Methods: To establish the prevalence of skin disease within nursing homes in southern Taiwan, we undertook a dermatologic and epidemiologic investigation of 398 patients in Tainan City, southern Taiwan, between November 1999 and February 2000.

Results: This study revealed that more than half of all nursing home patients suffered from fungus (61.6%) and xerosis (58.3%), while other pruritic skin diseases, such as dermatitis and scabies, were less prevalent at 7.3% and 3.3%, respectively. Risk factors for fungal infection included bedridden status (risk ratio (RR), 1.2; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.1-1.4) and male gender (RR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.0-1.3). Xerosis was statistically correlated with an age range of 80-90 years (RR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.0-1.4) when compared to other age ranges. Current scabies diagnosis was strongly associated with a previous history of scabies (RR, 8.9; 95% CI, 1.7-21.1).

Conclusions: Our study provides clinically relevant data regarding the prevalence of skin diseases in institutionalized Taiwanese patients for the first time. The results suggest that scabies persists within some nursing homes despite treatment, and that some patients remain undiagnosed. The dermatologic needs of these Taiwanese patients are not currently being satisfied.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Homes for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Taiwan / epidemiology