Mouth Care Matters
A new initiative that provides hospital inpatients with access to mouth care is improving both their hospital stay and their health.
East Surrey Hospital, run by Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, is the first in the country to have a specialist mouth care team of dental care professional to improve the oral health of hospital inpatients.
Developed by Mili Doshi, consultant special care dentist, the Mouth Care Matters initiative provides training to nursing staff, doctors and allied health care professionals so that patients admitted for more than 24 hours receive good mouth care during their stay at the East Surrey Hospital.
The initiative has seen a rise in the number of referrals to the dental department and mouth care team and has benefited patients in a range of ways – from making mouths more comfortable helping patients to eat and drink and correctly treating oral infections to support for palliative care patients with sore ulcerated mouths.
Mili explained: “Good mouth care is important for a patient’s dignity, ability to eat and drink, overall care and general health. I am so proud of the Mouth Care Matters team who are now making a real difference to improving the oral health of our patients – giving them a better quality of life and helping to reduce the risk of infections such as pneumonia and hence shorten Hospital stays.”
The Mouth Care Matters programme is being funded by Health Education England, Kent, Surrey and Sussex and will now be introduced into hospitals across the south east of England over the next year. Discussions are also underway for a national roll-out.