AMDA Releases Resource Focused on Improving Oral Health of PALTC Residents

January 6, 2014
Perry Gwen Meyers,

Columbia, MD — AMDA – Dedicated to Long Term Care Medicine is proud to announce the release of the latest in our long-term care information series, Oral Health in the Long Term Care Setting Tool Kit, along with a free compendium of resources. Poor dental hygiene and oral health care is becoming an epidemic in post-acute/long-term care (PALTC) facilities. An abundant body of evidence supports the view that oral cavity diseases contribute to disease burden and illness and that good oral care helps improve health outcomes and quality of life in the PALTC population. 

Further, a wealth of epidemiological evidence demonstrates that the oral health status of PALTC patients is poor and that the oral care provided in the PALTC setting can be greatly improved. To meet the goal of improving oral health care in this setting, AMDA formed a large workgroup comprised of hands-on experts in the PALTC setting such as medical directors, attending physicians, and nurses, as well as doctors of dental surgery and doctors of dental medicine in collaboration with the American Dental Association.

The purpose of this tool kit is to provide members of the interdisciplinary (IDT) care team in the PALTC setting with the knowledge and practical guidance they need to develop, implement, and sustain comprehensive oral health programs that contribute to the comfort, health, and well-being of the frail elderly patients in their care.

The tool kit includes resources and information designed to help facilities:

  • Develop and maintain an institutional culture that values oral health and instills a facility-wide commitment to achieving and maintaining an oral health care program
  • Identify oral health care resources in their communities and develop relationships with oral health professionals who have expertise in providing care to patients with special needs
  • Develop and implement an oral health plan, policies, and procedures, and an ongoing process for monitoring and evaluating the quality of oral health care
  • Integrate oral health care into the facility’s overall program of daily patient care
  • Develop and implement ongoing oral health training programs for both new and existing facility staff
  • Develop and maintain individualized oral hygiene care plans for every facility patient that are followed and reviewed at regular intervals.

Project Chair Hosam K. Kamel, MD, MPH, CMD, is proud of his and others’ work on this unique tool. “The development of the Oral Health Tool Kit is an important step in improving oral health care provided to the nation’s PALTC population, by providing IDT members with user-friendly, evidence-based education.”