Minnesota Nursing magazine

Innovative incontinence care

Donna Bliss
Professor Donna Bliss,

Incontinence associated skin damage is an inflammation of the skin due to irritation and maceration. It is the most common physical complication of incontinence affecting patients in all settings, from critical care to those living in the community. IASD causes discomfort and pain for the patient, increases the risk of other skin damage, such as pressure injury, and raises health care costs.

Professor Donna Bliss, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA, and her colleagues have developed a scoring instrument to assist nurses assessing IASD and its severity. In addition to the severity scoring tool, the incontinence associated skin damage severity instrument includes instructive information for nurses. The information includes images of the color changes and other signs of IASD, a diagram of the body areas where IASD can occur, and word descriptions of the signs and location of IASD. Bliss and her research team have tested the instrument with several groups of nurses using photograph cases and shown it has good validity and reliability. It is the first such instrument for assessing skin that has been tested for use on light, medium and dark skin tones. The IASD instrument is licensed by the University of Minnesota and is available at z.umn.edu/IASDassessment. Its use for educational and non-commercial research purposes is free. Bliss currently has a grant from MN-REACH, funded by the National Institutes of Health Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub program, to assess the commercialization potential of the instrument.


Center for Aging Science and Care Innovation

Kris Talley

Center Director: 
Kristine Talley, PhD, APRN, GNP-BC, FGSA

To develop and test innovative interventions that help individuals and families create optimal
pathways to health.

For more information:
Phone: 612-624-9412
Email: geronursing@umn.edu