Grant Trains Nurses Aids To Provide Basic Dental Care

lifelong-smilesNorthwest Iowa — More nurses aids in northwest Iowa, and around the state, are learning to provide basic dental care to patients, thanks to a $150-thousand grant. The two-year grant is part of a statewide effort to integrate oral health into standard care for seniors and people with disabilities.

Di Findley, director of the non-profit Iowa CareGivers, says the Lifelong Smiles Coalition developed a training program for health care aides called, “Mouth Care Matters,” and 100 direct care workers have been trained so far.

Findley says standards for oral health care should be added to the intake process for nursing home patients and especially for those receiving home health care services. For example, aides or nurses could ask a few simple questions, like, “Can you eat?” or “Do you have sores or pain in your mouth?”

The grant comes from the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. Delta Dental of Iowa is a nonprofit insurance company and its foundation’s purpose is to help improve oral health care in the state.

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