Effective mouth care both enhances patient dignity and reduces infections.
Oral health lectures have been introduced to nursing, midwifery, and nursing associate students at the University of Northampton.
Mouth Care Matters is a project introduced by Health Education England to train health and social care staff to be more responsive to the oral health needs of their patients.
The lectures cover checking the oral health of their patients, talking with them about it and confidently carrying out health interventions such as cleaning dentures and brushing teeth.
Effective mouth care not only enhances patient dignity, but it has also been shown to significantly reduce the amount of time patients spend in hospital due to a lower incidence of hospital-acquired infections.
The lectures are led by Nicky Peasnell, a Senior Lecturer in Dental Nursing, in partnership with Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT).
‘I never realised how important it was.’
Denise Birkett, Mouth Care Matters Lead at NHFT said; “Spreading the Mouth Care Matters guidance and training to the student nurses at the University has been a fantastic initiative as it means that student nurses coming to care for patients are able to assess patients’ mouths, determine what level of mouth care they require and then give that mouth care or refer on.
“Working with Nicky has enabled us to train the students with the local paperwork and products used, therefore making it easier to translate this learning into practice in the clinical setting.”
Erica Birch-Abban, Mental Health Nursing student, added: “I have to admit, although I take care of my own oral health, I never really thought about checking this with my patients, or helping them with something so day-to-day like cleaning their teeth or dentures.
“But after the training, I came away with a real drive to do this – I never realised how important it was. And I’m already spreading the word about this far and wide!”