Improving Oral Hygiene for Veterans With Dementia in Residential Long-term Care

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Abstract

Oral hygiene care is neglected in long-term care (LTC) due to patient-, staff-, and systems-level barriers. A dementia-specific oral hygiene program, implemented and evaluated in a Department of Veterans Affairs LTC unit, addressed barriers to oral care at multiple levels. Improved staff competency, access to oral care supplies, and standardized documentation systems were accompanied by reduced oral plaque and gingivitis, demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of direct care staff providing improved oral hygiene in LTC.

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