Big smiles for winning oral care project

Two female nurses stand in front of a female patient. Once of the nurses holds a toothbrush and toothpaste.
June 10, 2021

An innovative project highlighting the importance of simple oral care activities like tooth brushing has won double accolades at the recent South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) Excellence Awards (external site) for its outstanding clinical outcomes.

The Comprehensive Oral Care Project won both the Excellence in Clinical Care Award and the Southern Star Award, as overall winner of the team categories.

Through clinical case and literature reviews, the Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group (FSFHG) project team found that brushing and caring for patient’s teeth reduced the incidence of hospital-acquired pneumonia.

Other associated outcomes for participating inpatients included reduced hospital stays and discharge delays.

Hospital Acquired Complications Reduction Program Lead, Catherine Li said it was rewarding to see how incorporating simple practices into everyday care improved patient outcomes.

“It has been fulfilling for the team to have our project learnings incorporated into policy, and to see the storage of oral products and nursing and patient education embedded into clinical practice on six wards,” Catherine said.

“Just as rewarding was the improved sense of job satisfaction our nursing teams and speech pathologists reported when provided with feedback on the project’s achievements.”

Catherine also acknowledged the team and hospital staff for implementing the plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SMHS Chief Executive, Paul Forden, commended the project team for its commitment to excellent clinical care.

“The selection of this project as the recipient of the Southern Star Award truly demonstrates the value of these evidence-based interventions in improving the experience of our patients,” Paul said.

The SMHS Excellence Awards celebrate and reward high-achieving staff across Fiona Stanley, Fremantle, Rockingham General and Murray District hospitals who exemplify the SMHS core values of Care, Integrity, Respect, Excellence and Teamwork in their care and service each and every day.

The SMHS Southern Star Award was generously sponsored by Serco, while the SMHS Excellence in Clinical Care Award was generously sponsored by Smartsalary.

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