Neglect or Ignorance: Oral Hygiene in Long Term Care Facilities

Baker, Stacey, Joeleann Bensinger, Christina McCracken, and Amanda Wiens

The purpose of this research poster is to gain an understanding of the correlation between the knowledge and the measures taken of oral hygiene for residents administered by caregivers in long term care facilities. It is essential for the health of a long term care resident that their caregivers are knowledgeable about oral health care.  Education of caregivers on proper oral hygiene measures for residents and ability to recognize oral diseases should be a priority.  A goal is to make dental hygienists a part of oral health care administration in long-term care facilities.  As preventative experts in oral health care, it is the responsibility of the dental hygienist to perform these tasks.  Ensuring that adequate oral hygiene is maintained and optimized in long term care facilities should be a prime responsibility of dental hygienists.

Summary

Research was conducted at a Southeast Michigan long term care facility.  The participants (N=22) were given a thirteen question survey regarding their training in oral health care.

Conclusion

The need for a better education for oral health care measures is evident. The systemic link between diseases and the oral cavity has been established. Due to the lack of education on oral care, the personnel taking care of these residents are under educated. By having a dental hygienist in long term care facility it will ensure these tasks are being performed and that optimal oral health is established and maintained.  The residents of the long term care facilities deserve to receive an improved quality of oral health with the addition of Registered Dental Hygienists.