Dental hygiene in nursing homes

Are you looking for a good residence home for an elderly relative or friend? The staffing levels, their training and the commitment they have to their residents are keys to high quality care.

One relatively good indicator of the overall quality of care given to nursing home residents is their oral hygiene. Without good oral hygiene habits, performed twice a day, your mother / father / elderly friend will soon find themselves with broken teeth or failing past dental work due to lack of proper care. Broken teeth, cavities and failed bridgework or crowns will lead to pain and the potential loss of remaining teeth. Without the “tools” to take proper nourishment, the resident’s overall health can also deteriorate.

As with everything, it pays to be as connected and integrated with staff as possible before, during and after the transition to care. While being a constant squeaky wheel does often get the grease, it can also backfire and cause “empty hall syndrome” whenever the squeaky wheel is around. If you are relying on the staff to make medical and dental appointments and arrange for transportation for your loved one, make sure that you know the procedures that the residence has in place for getting these things set-up. It is usually better to follow-up with the person with whom the responsibility lies, as well, rather than hounding a floor aide that can often do no more than put in a request.

Lastly, even though your elderly friend (or maybe you) might be 80 years old, that doesn’t preclude living for 20 more years. To make the final heat of the race as healthy and enjoyable as the ones leading up to it, make sure that the ability to take high quality nutrition and have pain free meals remains to the end.