Importance Of Oral Health Assessment

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Implementing Oral health Assessment Tool To Improve Oral Care In Older Adults At Cornerstone Nursing Home Annastacia N. Mburu Mt Hood Community College: Nursing department Having good oral health is very important as it can help keep away many diseases which occur as a result of poor oral hygiene. As people age, many factors can contribute to poor oral health: potential physical, cognitive and sensory impairments associated with aging and diseases, Use of prescription and over the counter medications, lack of dental insurance, and poor oral care. Most older adults live in nursing homes where oral health is not very well implemented due to other major health problems which are given the first priority. This puts them at risk for major diseases…show more content…
This is a tool that assesses oral health in elderly individuals which covers the patient's current oral health status including factors which can contribute to the risk of oral disease and indicate the need for referral. The tool includes Observation, measurement and palpation of oral cavity, surrounding tissues and natural or artificial teeth by the nurses and caregivers in the facility using a pen light, tongue depressor, and gauze. The OHAT assessment tool covers ten oral hygiene categories: lymph nodes, lips, tongue, cheek and roof of mouth, gums, saliva, natural teeth, artificial teeth, chewing position, and oral cleanliness. The conditions of the oral cavity, surrounding tissues and natural or artificial teeth are examined and graded. The descriptors illustrate what to look for in a progressive manner from normal tissue to diseased tissue which is rated by the examiner using a 3 point scale (0, 1, 2); 0 indicating the healthy end and 2 the unhealthy end of the scale. The final score is the sum of the scores. The higher the score the more the problems identified therefore from there the nurse would know who to refer to dental evaluation and…show more content…
The implementation of the OHAT tool would be very helpful in Cornerstone Nursing home because it would help improve the overall oral health in most individuals. It would help the staff identify the needs of every resident in terms of oral care and the equipment needed to perform the task, which will also involve stocking each residents rooms with oral supplies. The tool will also help us identify residents who need dentist referral for oral examination which will help in prevention of many diseases which result from poor oral care. Due to the tool being user friendly as identified by the research, there will be involvement of more staff personnel to help with assessment making it easy to maintain oral health, as all staff would feel important because they are performing higher task. Minimal time is used to assess patients using the tool therefore assignments of six residents every Monday around 10:00 am to two staff personnel in the facility would be a good starting point of implementation. Understanding that some people have fear of the dentist especially when they see all the lights and scary tools the dentist use to assess them; using this tool will minimize the fear of oral assessment as the resident will be more reluctant in the absence of intimidating tools. This implementation will also be very helpful to residents who doesn’t have dental insurance. I strongly believe that this

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