Background and purpose.
This pilot study evaluates the waterproof success rate of transparent film dressing with and without special skin preparation on elbow or knee joints after 2 hours of immersion with exercise in a 90°F pool.
Sixty-four trials of transparent film dressing applications were collected during 4 pool sessions and separated into 4 groups by joint (knee or elbow) and skin preparation (none or liquid film-forming barrier). The outcome of waterproof success rate was measured as lack of water penetration after immersion.
The waterproof success rate for the knee site was 80% when the dressing was applied with skin preparation compared to only 56% when the dressing was applied without skin preparation. The success rate for the elbow site was 69% when the dressing was applied with skin preparation but surprisingly increased to 75% when the dressing was applied without skin preparation. Overall, 75% of all dressings remained waterproof with skin preparation compared to only a 67% when the dressing was applied without skin preparation.
The waterproof success rate of transparent film dressings following 2 hours of immersion with aquatic exercise in this study was at best 80%. Skin preparation with a liquid film-forming barrier improved the waterproof success rate of the knee dressing but reduced the success rate of the elbow dressing. Therefore, in practice, the treating therapist is advised to cautiously monitor dressing sites for signs of waterproof failure during the treatment session.
When making decisions about aquatic therapy patient selection, the therapist must consider that a transparent film dressing will reduce but not eliminate the risk of pool water contacting nonintact skin during immersion. This preliminary report shows that use of a liquid film-forming barrier can increase the waterproof success rate for transparent film dressings, but benefits may be joint specific.