“Oral care services could be provided to my mom in the nursing home environment… She no longer had to make as many trips out in the cold. This also meant much less work time lost for me”
I was introduced to the services provided by the HyLife Oral Health Alliance (HOHA), during a visit to Bridge Community Dental Services in Wausau.
My mom was 93 at the time and during her exam the dentist identified several teeth that needed immediate attention. Some had severe decay while others were already infected. At mom’s age I did not want to risk any chances for her to get sick and have difficulty recovering. It was October 2015 and we scheduled multiple appointments to begin improving on her oral health.
As the weather got colder each visit meant getting mom dressed up and taken out of the nursing home to attend the appointments. I would need to take off work or hire help to transport her so I could meet them at the dental office. Mom did well most appointments but some she slept through or she would have discomfort during transport.
One of the hygienists also was concerned over mom’s daily oral care. Her teeth were coated with plaque, food residue and she had red, sore gums. At this time she mentioned to me that there was a service that could come to mom to help save her teeth. She had a bridge that replaced 8 of her teeth and it was in danger of being lost due to the poor care of her mouth. The hygienist also emphasized that many elderly die from pneumonia due to aspirating bacteria while sleeping,
She told me about Angie Stone’s book and gave me her contact info. I contacted Angie the next day. She explained the HOHA approach to oral care for the elderly and their passion to help save and extend lives by improving oral health. The best part was oral care services could be provided to my mom in the nursing home environment. She no longer had to make as many trips out in the cold. This also meant much less work time lost for me.
I was so impressed with HOHA’s program that I had Angie set me up with an introductory meeting with their local Oral Care Specialist. I signed mom up for services the day of this meeting. Pricing was reasonable and that didn’t really matter. I just wanted to keep mom healthy for as long as possible. She was seen weekly for through brushing and between the teeth cleaning. At her next visit to the dental office we were given high praise for the change in her gum health and clean mouth.
On top of all of these health benefits for mom, we made a friend. Teresa, her Oral Care Specialist, was the most professional, caring woman I have ever met. She was gentle and respectful to my mom. She treated her as if she was the most important patient she had. She made staff be accountable, yet the staff too, grew to love and respect what she brought to the resident’s health care.
I would recommend this additional care to anyone who has a loved one whose teeth can no longer be cared for as they once had been. The care teams at facilities just can’t do it all. They are staffed for the normal day. Too many things can pull them away from doing additional duties.
This service should be provided or at minimum, offered as part of protecting the lives of our elderly. It can improve the quality of life. It can save lives. And it can create a bond with a caregiver that makes the individual feel important and loved.
Thank you for listening,