Mouth care is important for our health and wellbeing, and a neglected mouth may lead to pain, discomfort on eating, altered communication and changes in social interaction.
The oral health needs of people who require help with their personal care can easily get overlooked when there are other priorities for care, or pressure of time or there is reluctance/resistance to include this in the care plan on the part of either the carer or the person being cared for.
The condition of the mouth can also change over time so it is important to record the initial assessment and review it regularly.
The following cycle of oral health needs assessment is suggested for everyone, whatever their age, whether they receive community care in their own home, move to assisted living, are cared for in residential or nursing homes, or require hospital admission.
ASSESS - assess the oral health need at the commencement of their package of care or a personal care plan. (*see checklist)
ASK - ask if help is required with toothbrushing or denture care and ensure the oral hygiene products are provided to enable this to take place.
RECORD - record the answers to the above in the personal care plan.
ACT - put the proposed mouth care into action.
MONITOR - monitor action on a daily basis.
REVIEW - review both need and action frequently