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End the Silence: The State of Long-Term Care Facilities and Oral Health Care 
Presenter: Sonya Dunbar, RDH Release Date: 3/14/23
Credits: 1 CEU, Free Self-Study Expiration Date: 3/14/26
AGD Subject Code: 130  

There are 65,600 regulated long-term care facilities in the U.S. About 70% of seniors will need some type of long-term care. As of today, roughly 1.5 million people live in nursing homes. In addition, many Americans will need long-term care (LTC) at some point in their lives. Older adults, sick and disabled adults, and children with special needs - including those who are chronically or terminally ill - may all require long-term care services. Every day until 2030, 10,000 “Baby Boomers” will reach 65 years old. Older adults in the United States are living longer and are keeping more of their natural teeth than in previous decades. Yet, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), complete tooth loss continues to decline.

A silent epidemic of oral diseases is afflicting older adults in long-term care facilities, and frail elderly adults suffer in silence from poor and neglected oral care. This CE webinar will discuss the oral health status of the elderly residing in LTCF and the relationship this has with oral and systemic health. Explain how and why oral care is provided to residents on ventilators, feeding tubes, bedbound and comatose. A review will be provided on the relationship between the oral manifestations and oral complications of common systemic diseases, with a strong emphasis on pneumonia. The CE webinar will conclude with an outline of establishing an interdisciplinary oral care program in long-term care facilities.

During this CE webinar, we will
• Discuss demographic trends in the US that will reflect an aging population.
• Outline the relationship between oral health and the manifestation of systemic diseases.
• Describe the correlation between poor oral health and aspiration pneumonia of the elderly residing in long-term care facilities (LTCF).
• Define key components of a research-based, comprehensive institutional oral care protocol and evidence for reducing pneumonia.
• Implement effective interprofessional strategies to improve oral health for the aging adult in LTCF.
• List effective ways to provide oral care for patients that are tube-fed on ventilators or comatose.   ( disclaimer , AGD PACE Statement )

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