Long-Term Care: Nursing & Oral Health
A Joint Issues Brief Between Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC and the BC Dental Hygienists’ Association
April 4, 2022
- Residents in long-term care have complex needs and require fulsome, team-based care from a variety of health care professionals to meet their multi-faceted and often evolving health requirements.
- Oral health is inseparable from overall health. British Columbians across all life stages, including residents in long-term care, have the right to accessible, quality, equitable, and comprehensive dental hygiene care.
- Increased complications for systemic conditions such as aspiration pneumonia, heart disease, inflammatory diseases and diabetes have been associated with poor oral health.1-5 Timely access to appropriate oral care protects against potentially painful health risks.
- Preventative dental hygiene saves residents and their families time, money, grief, pain, and protects against increased risks of complications against common and novel health conditions including COVID-19. 6
- Nurses understand that access to proper oral care is essential for the overall health and well-being of residents in long-term care, however the nursing scope does not extend to comprehensive oral care. Appropriate oral care requires the expertise of oral health professionals, such as dental hygienists.
- Working together in shared leadership, dental hygiene and nursing can provide fulsome and appropriate care to the residents of long-term care.
To read the full release, check it out here.