At Grand Terrace Rehabilitation and Nursing, we have implemented an Oral Hygiene Program with great success for residents. The purpose of the program is multifold:

  • Decrease potential for complications from oral bacteria
  • Increase resident level of independence and dignity
  • Improve quality of life
  • Develop restorative nursing programs and decrease caregiver assistance


  • Identify appropriate residents (G-tube, dementia, bed-bound, cognitively impaired, high-risk aspiration, etc.)
  • Create individualized oral hygiene box including: toothbrush, toothpaste, cup, mouthwash, oral swab, etc.
  • OT addresses processing, sequencing, grasp, UE strength and coordination, postural control and compensatory training
  • ST addresses oral desensitization, risk of aspiration, oral-motor coordination and strength, oral functions and cognitive abilities
  • Provide daily visual schedule for oral hygiene in restroom for appropriate residents
  • Provide caregiver education to nursing staff and family members
  • Refer to Restorative Nursing Program for carryover


As a result of the program, our residents have gained an improved quality of life and decreased caregiver dependence. We have increased CNA productivity due to residents requiring less assistance, while also decreasing hospitalizations due to medical complications associated with poor oral care. In addition, we have seen increased interdisciplinary team communication.

The oral hygiene program has benefited residents, caregivers, therapy and the facility. Not only have we boosted awareness of the importance of providing good oral care, but we have also enhanced residents’ self-efficacy.

By Grand Terrace Rehabilitation and Nursing, Therapy Department, McAllen, TX