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Healthcare Associated Infections

Skin Tears: Prevention, Assessment and Management

Educational resources to support implementation and best practice on the prevention and management of skin tears in all healthcare settings.

This resource is part of the intermediate layer of the Scottish Infection Prevention and Control Education Pathway.  Further information about the pathway is available on the pathway webpage.


Skin tears are viewed as an increasing problem and if appropriate treatment is not given, these injuries may become chronic wounds with prolonged healing subsequently causing unnecessary pain and distress.

As our population changes and the number of elderly people increases we need to be aware of best practice in prevention, assessment and management of skin tears whether we are caring for patients/clients in hospital, their own home or in a care home.

The educational resources comprise a video and workbook. The resources are based upon the National Association for Tissue Viability Specialist Nurses Scotland best practice statement.

Watch the video (20 minutes)



The workbook is available is an interactice pdf which allows data to be entered and saved and also as a print version.

Download interactive pdf Skin Tears Workbook

Download print version pdf Skin tears Workbook

NB. Once you have downloaded the interactive workbook please ensure that you save this to your local PC before you start to work your way through and enter notes.  

If health and social care staff working in Scotland wish to request copies of the printed workbook please contact

You can share links to the educational resources and use locally, however attribution must always be given to NES. You cannot use the resource for commercial purposes without express written permission from NES.

NB. Version 3 of the workbbok was produced October 2018 and relects changes arising from the International Skin Tears Advisory Panel. 

Target audience

Primarily registered nurses,  healthcare support workers, Scottish Ambulance Service staff, medical staff and care home managers and qualified care home staff. However, the resources may be of interest to practitioners or carers working in Scotland who wish to learn about skin tears and their prevention, assessment and management.

Aim of the resources

  • Review changes in skin associated with ageing and relate age-associated skin changes to skin tears
  • Identify patient groups who are at risk of developing skin tears
  • Discuss best practice in relation to skin tears and demonstrate an understanding of skin tear prevention
  • Categorise skin tears using the recommended assessment tool

Key content

  • What are skin tears
  • Prevalence of skin tears
  • Age related skin changes associated with skin tears
  • Identification of at risks groups
  • Prevention of skin tears
  • Classification of skin tears
  • Management of skin tears
  • Treatment of skin tears
  • When to refer and seek help

Further information

It is anticipated that the learning time to complete the workbook is 4 hours.


Resources launched February 2015, Version 3 updated November 2018.