ORAL CARE CHAMPION
NICE suggest nominating an oral care champion to ensure systems are in place to support oral health. [NG48]
ORAL CARE CHAMPION
Oral Care Champions are encouraged to oversee that daily oral care is carried out. They 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. This will demonstrate that oral care is being taken seriously.
Smiling Matters Report highlighted that residents were not supported to maintain and improve their oral health. According to Government figures more than half of older adults in care homes have tooth decay.
Vulnerable adults 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, plaque bacteria can be inhaled causing inflammation and damage to the body's main organs. Bacteria from the mouth has been shown to cause aspiration pneumonia which is a life threatening condition with fatal consequences.
A pilot study carried out in long term care homes for the elderly showed a significant improvement in the oral health of geriatric residents when carers received education and were supported with an oral care champion. Oral health champions in long‐term care facilities—a pilot study, august 2013
ALLOCATING THE RIGHT PERSON
It is advisable to allocate a staff member that shows an interest in oral health, Ideally a member of staff that comes forward to voluntarily accept the role as an Oral Champion.
Care managers may decide to train more than one Oral Champion, especially where part-time staff are employed.
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
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.
Knowledge Oral Health Care offer Train the Trainer 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.