Skincare Meets Eldercare: New Bedside Service with Advanced Dermatology PC Brings Dermatologists Straight to Seniors

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Residents of 7 Nassau and Suffolk County nursing homes now have the benefit of dermatologic house calls, thanks to an expanding program from Advanced Dermatology PC which brings a specially trained physician assistant right to a patient’s bedside.

Christopher Byrne, MPAS, RPA-C

Under the Eldercare Dermatology program, fully qualified dermatology specialists travel to participating senior care facilities and meet with residents—right in the patient’s room—to evaluate and treat any problems.

Getting older brings plenty of changes, not the least of which are changes in the skin, ranging from the merely uncomfortable (dryness and itching) to the potentially life-threatening (skin cancer). For seniors in assisted living facilities, skin problems requiring a dermatologist’s care typically mean making a trip to the doctor’s office, which can be stressful as well as logistically challenging. But the residents of 7 Nassau and Suffolk County nursing homes now have the benefit of dermatologic house calls, thanks to an expanding program from Advanced Dermatology PC which brings a specially trained physician assistant right to a patient’s bedside.

Advanced Dermatology’s Eldercare Dermatology program fills a very real need in Long Island’s senior population, explains Chris Byrne, a physician assistant at Advanced Dermatology and manager of the Center’s Eldercare Dermatology program. Seniors face a unique set of skin problems, he says, many of which require ongoing dermatologic care. As we get older, our skin gets thinner, thanks to declining collagen levels and a drop in the production of lipids, which give the skin its protective barrier, he explains. At the same time, capillaries become more fragile, diminishing the skin’s blood supply and making bruising more common. Immunity also declines with aging, which leaves seniors more susceptible to onychomycosis (toenail fungus), candidiasis (yeast infections), shingles (a viral infection) and certain types of malignant tumors, he adds. On top of this, years of cumulative damage—from sun exposure and other factors—mean that senior skin is much more likely to develop cancer as well as benign conditions such as skin tags and the rough, scaly patches known as actinic keratosis.

Under the Eldercare Dermatology program, fully qualified dermatology specialists travel to participating senior care facilities and meet with residents—right in the patient’s room—to evaluate and treat any problems. “This type of house call makes it much easier for the patient as well as the patient’s family and caretakers,” Byrne explains. “They don’t have to be transported anywhere, even down the hall, which makes the whole experience a lot less stressful.” Advanced Dermatology’s specialists have treated a long list of skin concerns among their nursing-home patients, including basal and squamous cell cancers and the dual concerns of xerosis (dry skin) and pruritus (itching), which are the most common skin complaints among the elderly.

During these visits, Byrne says, specialists can diagnose and treat any number of skin conditions, and perform biopsies and cryosurgery (freezing skin) to remove lesions ranging from skin tags and warts to cancerous growths. “The program lets us deliver top-quality care while preserving the patient’s comfort and dignity,” he adds. “And that helps the nursing facility, as well, by allowing them to provide the best possible care for their residents.”

Eldercare Dermatology is currently available at Sun Harbor Manor Nursing and Rehab, Townhouse Nursing and Rehab, Ross Nursing and Rehab, Sayville Nursing and Rehab, Huntington Hills Nursing and Rehab, Nesconset Nursing and Rehab and Bellhaven Nursing and Rehab. For more information

Christopher Byrne, MPAS, RPA, has been a Certified Physician Assistant at Advanced Dermatology and the Center for Laser & Cosmetic Surgery since 2004. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from New York University, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the New York Institute of Technology. Mr. Byrne also completed a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies with a concentration in dermatology from the University of Nebraska School of Medicine.

Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies. http://www.advanceddermatologypc.com

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