Dental Trade Alliance Grant Benefits Oral Patient Care at Dignity Health East Valley 


Dignity Health East Valley was recently awarded a $25,000 grant to launch a pilot program aimed at improving oral health for patients confined to intensive care units at Chandler Regional Hospital.

Hospital acquired infections are a concern for both patients and healthcare systems across the country, and ICU patients are especially at risk for ventilator-associated complications and infections. Indeed such complications can lead to longer hospital stays and even increased mortality. It has been proven that good oral care can aid in the prevention of such outcomes. However proper oral hygiene becomes considerably more difficult when patients have gastric tubes and other devices to secure their airways.  While most hospitals have oral health protocols for these patients, studies reveal that the actual practice of these methods is inconsistent with fewer than 44% of critical care nurses reporting that they brush their patients’ teeth. Such a low incidence points to the limitations providers face in administering appropriate oral care

This three-month pilot project will allow a registered dental hygienist to provide oral health care to patients in the Medical and Trauma Intensive Care Units at Chandler Regional Hospital. At the end of the three months, the hygienist will transition to a consultant role and trained nursing staff will continue the bedside care.  In addition, current oral care products will be replaced with ones that will ensure better results for these advanced airway patients. The successful completion of this project will enable the program to expand to other Dignity Health hospitals.

Integrating medicine and dentistry has recently become a topic of renewed emphasis in healthcare. The grant from the Dental Trade Alliance will form an important alliance and help put Dignity Health at the forefront of providing such state-of-the-art care.



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