With the increase in the older populations, the number of bedridden older patients is becoming a matter of concern. Skin microbiome and skin physiological functions are known to change according to lifestyle and community; however, such changes in case of movement- and cleaning-restricted bedridden older patients have not yet been revealed. To address this issue, we analyzed skin microbiome and skin physiological functions, including pH, hydration, sebum level, and transepidermal water loss (TEWL), of bedridden older patients, compared with those of ambulatory older and young individuals. For this analysis, we enrolled 19 healthy young and 18 ambulatory older individuals from the community and 31 bedridden older patients from a single, long-term care hospital in Japan. The area of interest was set to the sacral (lower back) skin, where pressure injuries (PIs) and subsequent infection frequently occurs in bedridden older patients. We observed a higher number of gut-related bacteria, fewer commensals, higher skin pH, and lower TEWL on the sacral skin of bedridden older patients than on that of young or ambulatory older individuals. In addition, we observed that 4 of the 31 bedridden older patients developed PIs during the research period; a higher abundance of pathogenic skin bacteria were also observed inside the PI wounds. These findings imply distinct skin microbiome and skin physiological functions in bedridden older patients in comparison with healthy individuals and may suggest the need for more stringent cleaning of the skin of bedridden older patients in light of the closeness of skin and wound microbiome.
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