Susan Utley, a speech and language therapist and Mouth Care Matters’ Lead at Croydon University Hospitals reflects on rolling out Mouth Care Matters.
We started out with a small handful of nurses, HCAs and practise educations and myself trekking out in the snow to our training at East Surrey Hospital last winter. The trainers were really inspiring and we all came away very enthusiastic and determined to improve the mouthcare for our patients at Croydon.
In Croydon, like a lot of Trusts, we are keen to seize any opportunities to update our training and improve patient care. Mouth Care Matters gave us the impetus that we needed. We have so far introduced Mouth Care Matters onto three acute medical wards for the elderly and onto the stroke unit.
What we learned was that it has been challenging to fit the training into the nurses busy schedules but a mixture of training on the bay or short sessions for small groups has been the most effective.
Nurses and HCAs were amazed, during the training, to learn that poor mouthcare can have such a huge negative medical impact. They all gave very good feedback from their training and seemed inspired do something about the poor mouthcare of their patients.
Additionally, having the mouthcare products available has made a big difference and nursing staff on these wards have been carrying out and documenting mouthcare.
The Mouth Care Assessment is soon to become a mandatory admission form on our electronic records system.
Word has spread and sisters from other wards have recently been approaching me asking for the products. The next phase is to extend the programme to other wards in the hospital.
We are thrilled to have taken part in this wonderful initiative. My aim is for mouthcare to be a priority for all patients in Croydon and for all nurses to take a pride in providing good mouthcare to all.