Partnerships to Improve Oral Hygiene Practices: Two Complementary Approaches

Craig M. Dale, Rick Wiechula, Adrienne Lewis, Alexa McArthur, Helen Breen, Alan Scarborough, Louise Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The omission of oral care is linked to increased nurse workload and may contribute to serious patient infection and growing healthcare costs. Therefore, ineffective oral care comprises a significant patient safety issue across healthcare settings internationally. As studies have demonstrated a positive relationship between Nurs Leadersh (Tor Ont) and improved patient outcomes, it is imperative that leaders seek effective approaches to facilitate contextual exploration of barriers and facilitators for resolution of oral care delivery problems. One approach to improved processes of oral care is the creative engagement of front-line clinicians in the problems they confront in everyday practice. By drawing upon the role and process of facilitation, we outline two projects, located in Australia and Canada, that engaged front-line nurses, health leaders, and researchers as partners to identify a path to improved oral care delivery. In this paper, we summarize key learnings for nursing leaders about strategies to facilitate delivery of fundamental oral care. We found that facilitation, contextual knowledge and academic-clinician partnerships were essential to the detection and evaluation of oral care delivery problems and the identification of priorities for practice improvement. As collaboration is imperative for sustainable innovation, we summarize strategies of effective leadership for improving oral care delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-58
Number of pages12
JournalNursing leadership (Toronto, Ont.)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Oral Hygiene Practices
  • Oral care
  • Omission of oral care
  • increased nurse workload
  • nursing leadership
  • oral care delivery problems
  • resolution of oral care delivery problems
  • engagement of front-line clinicians
  • fundamental oral care


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