Importance of Good Oral Hygiene

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Oral Care in Nursing Practice
Nathan Hruby

Oral care for patients in palliative care and end-of-life situations is an important, but often underperformed aspect of nursing responsibilities. This study explored oral care attitudes by nursing staff, and health-care assistants in a non-palliative care setting. At this time, there are some problems regarding caregivers' attitudes towards oral care. Inadequate empathy on the part of the caregiver, lack of knowledge on the effects of oral care, the need for specialists in oral care, and inconsistent practice are things that must be addressed, should the nursing profession as a whole wish to change for the better. WHAT: This article addresses the problem that neglecting oral care can quickly deteriorate a patient's condition. It can lead to discomfort, pain, lesions, thrush, foul odors, and changes in communication. Good oral hygiene can even help with prevention of infection and aspiration pneumonia in some cases. WHY: This research was initiated to facilitate a large scale training program intended to provide education to caregivers about oral hygiene, and to help change attitudes about its effectiveness and worth. It was intended to explore their values, ideas, beliefs, and practices. WHEN: The data collection for this research project took place between January and May of 2011. The findings of this study were published in 2012, in the International Journal of Palliative Nursing, Vol. 18, No. 9. HOW: This research study utilized a questionnaire developed earlier which targeted nurses and nursing assistants with cause to deliver oral care, but were not specialists in palliative care. The questionnaire consisted of 16 questions, which used a Likert scale of 1 - 5, with 1 being complete disagreement, and 5 being total agreement. Participants were to fill out the questionnaire, and return it within a specified amount of time. Two weeks after the questionnaire deadline, focus groups were...
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