(HealthDay)—Development and implementation of standardized oral care treatment and referral guidelines can improve the overall quality of oral health practice for older sub-acute patients, according to a study published online Dec. 13 in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research.
Eric Luong, M.Clin.Pharm., from The Mornington Centre in Australia, and colleagues conducted assessments of oral health before and after introduction of a multifaceted intervention process that involved guideline and procedure development for oral health assessment and referral by dental, medical, nursing, pharmacy, and speech pathology staff. The Oral Health Assessment Tool (OHAT) was used to assess participants' oral health in the pre- and post-intervention phases at baseline and 10 to 14 days after hospital admission.
The researchers found that no significant changes were reported in total OHAT scores and oral health at days 10 to 14 after admission by the 73 participants (mean age, 81 years) in the pre-intervention group. However, there was a significant decrease in the mean total OHAT score for the 73 participants (mean age, 82 years) in the post-intervention phase, from a baseline of 2.81 at admission to 2.29 at days 10 to 14, representing an 18.5 percent improvement.
"This study highlighted the importance of a multidisciplinary team, including a pharmacist, in improving oral health practice for older people in a sub-acute hospital setting," the authors write.
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