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Mouth Care

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One of Katya’s duties every day is to assist the residents at Northside Retirement Center with personal grooming. Recently, all the nursing assistants were retrained in the importance of dental hygiene and what to look for when assisting residents with mouth care.

Mrs. Wilkins, one of Katya’s patients, is recovering from a stroke and becomes annoyed when anyone has to help her with daily activities like brushing her teeth. This morning, Katya is the nursing assistant assigned to help Mrs. Wilkins.

Katya arranges the toothbrush and toothpaste near the sink and proceeds to help Mrs. Wilkins out of bed and to the sink using her walker. Mrs. Wilkins says, “I can do it myself,” and she begins trying to brush her teeth.

When Katya notices Mrs. Wilkins having difficulty getting the toothbrush into her mouth, Katya offers, “Let me do it for you.”

Mrs. Wilkins refuses and continues on her own, sometimes having trouble with getting the toothbrush to move back and forth. When she finishes with brushing and rinsing out her mouth, Katya notices that Mrs. Wilkins has spit out a small amount of blood while rinsing her teeth.

“Can you open your mouth for me, please?” asks Katya.

“What for?”

“I want to see if you are having any problems with your teeth.” Looking into Mrs. Wilkins’s mouth, Katya notices several red areas on her gums. After she assists Mrs. Wilkins back into bed, Katya makes a note on Mrs. Wilkins’s chart that there may be a problem and to remind herself to see if the bleeding happens again the next time she helps Mrs. Wilkins.

© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners