Organisation, practice and experiences of mouth hygiene in stroke unit care: a mixed-methods study

Maria Horne*, Giles McCracken, Angus Walls, Pippa J. Tyrrell, Craig J. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Aims and objectivesTo (1) investigate the organisation, provision and practice of oral care in typical UK stroke units; (2) explore stroke survivors', carers' and healthcare professionals' experiences and perceptions about the barriers and facilitators to receiving and undertaking oral care in stroke units.

BackgroundCerebrovascular disease and oral health are major global health concerns. Little is known about the provision, challenges and practice of oral care in the stroke unit setting, and there are currently no evidence-based practice guidelines.

DesignCross-sectional survey of 11 stroke units across Greater Manchester and descriptive qualitative study using focus groups and semi-structured interviews.

MethodsA self-report questionnaire was used to survey 11 stroke units in Greater Manchester. Data were then collected through two focus groups (n=10) with healthcare professionals and five semi-structured interviews with stroke survivors and carers. Focus group and interview data were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using framework approach.

ResultsEleven stroke units in Greater Manchester responded to the survey. Stroke survivors and carers identified a lack of oral care practice and enablement by healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals identified a lack of formal training to conduct oral care for stroke patients, inconsistency in the delivery of oral care and no set protocols or use of formal oral assessment tools.

ConclusionOral care post-stroke could be improved by increasing healthcare professionals' awareness, understanding and knowledge of the potential health benefits of oral care post-stroke. Further research is required to develop and evaluate the provision of oral care in stroke care to inform evidence-based education and practice.

Relevance to clinical practiceDevelopment of staff training and education, and evidence-based oral care protocols may potentially benefit patient care and outcomes and be implemented widely across stroke care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-738
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • carer
  • cerebrovascular accident
  • mouth care
  • oral hygiene
  • pneumonia
  • quality of life
  • rehabilitation
  • service user


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