The Hospice Patient#39;s Right to Oral Care: Making Time for the Mouth Journal Article


Authors: Soileau, K.; Elster, N.
Article Title: The Hospice Patient#39;s Right to Oral Care: Making Time for the Mouth
Abstract: The hospice philosophy embraces palliative care for the terminally ill, for whom quality of life is the central focus of comfort care management. Often, caregivers hesitate or simply do not elect to extend oral care for patients nearing the end of life, due to difficulties encountered in patient compliance, a sense of futility in doing so, staff time constraints in prioritizing care, underfunding, or a lack of education as to how and why such care should be delivered to the hospice patient. This article aims to show physiological and psychosocial reasons why the hospice patient has a need for properly and regularly implemented oral care and why dental professionals have an ethical responsibility to address the current void that exists in hospice-centered oral care. Varying viewpoints are discussed regarding the need for oral health monitoring and maintenance in both the capable patient with capacity and in the patient who lacks capacity and is totally dependent, yet who exhibits no particular signs of oral distress nor desire for hygiene measures. Consideration is given to family dynamics in such care. Oral care of the elderly patients and terminally ill is sorely lacking, and dental educators are challenged to cultivate in students a sense of professional duty toward caring for the vulnerable elderly patients. Dental professionals should create initiatives in developing, promoting, and implementing an appropriate standard of oral care for the hospice patient.
Keywords: Ethics; Terminally Ill; comfort; hospice; oral care; palliative
Journal Title: Journal of palliative care
Volume: 33
Issue: 2
ISSN: 0825-8597; 0825-8597
Publisher: Unknown  
Journal Place: United States
Date Published: 2018
Start Page: 65
End Page: 69
Language: eng
DOI/URL:
Notes: LR: 20180403; JID: 8610345; OTO: NOTNLM; 2018/03/14 06:00 [pubmed]; 2018/03/14 06:01 [medline]; 2018/03/14 06:00 [entrez]; ppublish