By Gary McGiven, Therapy Resource, Milestone, UT
Since converting to a COVID-designated facility, City Creek has seen a more acutely ill patient population with an increased reliance on staff support for oral infection control. As COVID-19 patients are significantly more likely to experience complications if they also have poor oral health, City Creek’s SLPs have implemented a system to better track data on how frequently oral infection control support is being offered.
Even for patients who are cognitively and physically capable of performing it for themselves, staff support in the form of set-up assistance or verbal reminders has been valuable. Each patient has a laminated chart displayed in their room. It shows which staff member performed oral care and when. We note patterns of support being offered and frequently refused, or observing patients completing oral care independently.
For patients on the free water protocol, for example, the use of this chart has been extremely valuable. This system has increased patient and staff awareness of the importance of frequent oral care, and individual accountability in staff members. When we can identify patterns, for example, the frequency with which oral care is offered during AM versus PM shifts, we can better target staff education. We’re striving to move the perception of oral care toward an oral infection control program.