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When will my two worlds integrate? I work in elder care and have an extensive network with assisted living, nursing homes and providers of services to the older adult population. To me this automatically - and naturally - includes oral care. However, the meetings I attend about oral care never has anyone there from my eldercare network. What is the disconnect with oral care?
Gum disease is a killer and should be as alarming as diabetes to our loved ones and patients/residents/clients. Did you know that you cannot control diabetes with out of control gum disease? Did you know that gum disease leads to bone and teeth loss, heart disease, and now linked to Alzheimer's? Did you know that it is a law that nursing homes provide daily oral care to their residents? Does that one surprise you? That is right! Oral care falls under grooming and there are two surveys that are used during the inspection of nursing homes. The MDS and QIS with very specific rules about oral health and care.
How is it that these are being ignored and no one is outraged? They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I am pasting a thousand words below for you to see what condition the residents of nursing homes are dealing with. And remember most of these people have memory challenges and cannot ask their caregiver to please brush their teeth, or tell their nurse that they have pain in their mouth and now they have an earache. Do we always have to wait until there is visible swelling of the face and neck?
How about it? Look at my "thousand words" and become an advocate for these vunerable adults. There is a movement to acknowledge this as dental abuse. I know no one wants to go there but what do you call it?