Relying on nursing staff for oral hygiene care: A qualitative interpretive description study
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Nurses may not prompt or offer assistance with oral hygiene care activities to patients who do not ask for help because they appear independent in their ability to perform their oral hygiene care. That is, nurses may be inclined to preserve patient autonomy over ensuring adequate oral hygiene outcomes. The purpose of this qualitative Interpretive Description study was to explore, with older patients in post-acute settings, their perspectives and experiences with being autonomous or relying on nursing staff for oral hygiene care. Bedside interviews with 21 patients revealed that: (a) their oral hygiene had deteriorated since hospitalization; (b) nurses may not be aware of patients' oral health values or offer help unless asked; and (c) patients are generally open to being asked if they need help with oral care, being prompted to complete oral care, being asked if they have completed oral care, and having nurses ensure adequate oral care.
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