Standardizing the Delivery of Oral Health Care Practice in Hospitals

Mouth care is an important aspect of patient care in hospitals, but is often identified as requiring improvement. Mouth Care Matters (MCM), an initiative funded by Health Education England (HEE), was launched in 2015 to improve the oral health of adults in settings such as care homes and hospitals.

In 2015, a dental team implemented the MCM programme at East Surrey Hospital. The initiative was then adopted in all other acute hospital trusts in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. This article highlights the importance of good mouth care in hospital and discusses mouth care provision in 12 acute trusts in Kent, Surrey and Sussex before implementation of MCM.

Mouth care in hospitals
Supporting or providing good, regular mouth care for inpatients is essential (Department of Health, 2010). It contributes to good oral health and, in turn, improves general health, dignity and wellbeing (Locker et al, 2002). The hospital inpatient population is getting older and increasingly presents with comorbidities. This population is in greater need of help with personal care, including oral hygiene. Barriers to providing effective mouth care may include a lack of regular staff training and the absence of resources such as tools for assessing and recording oral health care and mouth care policies and products.

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