Oral Care Champion
Allocating a member of staff who can support, embed and sustain organizational change with the home as required. Ensuring that all residents receive quality oral care.
The oral care champion can be responsible for putting systems and processes into place so that oral health care plans are followed and that residents have access to preventive and treatment services when required.
Having an Oral Care Champion is encouraged to oversee that daily oral care is carried out. This will demonstrate that oral care is being taken seriously. Studies have emphasized that oral care is often being missed and not prioritized in care homes. According to Government figures more than half of older adults in care homes have tooth decay.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF AN ORAL CHAMPION?
To ensure that mouth care policy and plans are in place
Is responsible for promoting best practice
Make sure that oral assessments are carried out for every new resident regardless of how long their stay is and incorporated into their care plan leading to the development of individual care plans.
To ensure that care staff document that brushing has been carried out twice daily indicating if a resident has declined oral care.
Identify local dental care services available
Maintaining a supply of relevant and up to date oral health promotion literature
Ensuring that mouth care supplies / tools are obtained
Ensure that all caregivers that are involved in the daily mouth care are trained appropriately
ALLOCATING THE RIGHT PERSON
It is advisable that a member of staff comes forward to voluntarily accept the role as an Oral Care lead as the staff member will have increased responsibilities and often no increase in salary. The oral Care Champion will need to have appropriate leadership in increasing the skills of their workforce.
Care managers may decide to train more than one Oral Champion, especially where part-time staff are employed.
TRAINING OF AN ORAL CHAMPION
Oral Care Champions (also referred to as an Oral Care Lead) are advised to attend an Oral Care course so that they feel able to train other caregivers.
Oral Health Matters offer training courses that will give you the tools to deliver oral health care to your carers. Our courses cover the key elements from the NICE Guidelines (2016) to ensure best practice is carried out.
This course will build confidence for oral health champions to relay important information, and demonstrate skills, to carers in the workplace involved in daily mouth care.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF MOUTH CARE?
Daily mouth care is a crucial part of preventing tooth decay and gum disease, which can both result in toothaches, sore mouths and avoidable tooth loss. Not only this, a fresh clean mouth gives us an enormous sense of well-being and can actually reduce the risk of life threatening illness and diseases. The elderly living in care homes are more dependant on carers to assist with daily mouth care. If plaque and debris is not removed daily with brushing the plaque bacteria can be inhaled causing inflammation and damage to the body's main organs. For example plaque bacteria from the mouth have been shown to cause aspiration pneumonia which is a life threatening condition with fatal consequences.