Supportive Oral Health for Seniors

Point-of-care worker is talking with an older adult resident while holding a toothbrush in bathroom

Award Date: 2017

Project Lead(s): Nelly Villacorta-Siegal, Dental Hygienist

Project Title: Supportive Oral Health for Seniors

What is the issue?

Regular oral health checkups and preventive care decrease the incidence of oral diseases. They also find infections that can affect other parts of the body. Good oral care also reduces mouth pain and preserves the ability to eat. Frail seniors living in long-term care homes may not receive regular oral health checkups or careThe usual approach is for doctors to refer residents to dentists when issues arise.  

What did we do?

We created a new oral health screening program called Supportive Oral Health for Seniors. Our model empowers personal support workers and nurses to screen for oral health issues and refer residents directly to dental hygienists. We tested the model at the Apotex Centre 

What did we find?

Most registered nursesregistered practical nursesand personal support workers completed the education program. They also conducted 27 in-person coaching sessions and created individualized oral care plans for residents. We also expanded our test to two additional long-term care homes. Twenty-four participants completed the online education module, and 26 residents were referred to hygienists within the first 30 days of our study across both homes.