Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oral health coordinators in long-term care—a pilot study

Special Care in Dentistry

Published Online: 16 Feb 2010

Gilda J. Pronych, DDS, FAGD ; Elizabeth J. Brown, RDH, MS ; Karen Horsch, MEd ; Karen Mercer, RDH, MPH

Abstract

This pilot project tested a curricular and systems approach to improving the oral health care of nursing home residents in three facilities in New Hampshire. An oral health coordinator (OHC) was appointed in each facility to act as a liaison between nursing and dental staff, provide resources for nursing assistants, and ensure staff delivery of residents' daily oral care. During the study, residents' oral health status was assessed at four intervals and ongoing training was provided to nursing staff. At the conclusion of the pilot study, an evaluation of the results indicated an improvement in oral hygiene in all facilities. The role of the OHC showed promise when that person was active in holding nursing staff accountable for daily oral care of the residents.

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