Case Study: A.F. Is Dying at HomeA.F. is a 79-year-old woman with metastatic breast cancer who is in her own home, cared for by her daughter with the help of the home hospice program. She developed aspiration pneumonia, and was treated with oral antibiotics. This does not do good things to an already frail body. It can be prevented.
Why does she have aspiration pneumonia?
Dental hygiene is a difficult issue for many who are confined to their homes. In Ontario, Dental Hygienists may now visit clients in their own homes. Unfortunately, despite progress in this area, many new hygienists cannot afford such a practice.
What do Hygienists do? They can clean teeth, remove plaque, and the bacteria that threaten especially the weak and frail. They can reduce the risk of those with cancer, diabetes and other medical issues, by keeping a mouth cleaner than perhaps, a caregiver might be able to, if a patient cannot. Bacteria in the mouth can be either aspirated into the lungs, or enter an open sore in the mouth, thereby entering the blood stream. This leads to many health concerns.
Look around in Ontario for a dental hygienist willing to make such a housecall. We have made such progress in the area of midwives and Nurse Practitioners, who save the health care system many thousands of dollars. This is in arena in which change MUST occur with failing seniors in a growing population.
- Brush your teeth daily. Use X-PUR on those who need it, if you can find it!
- Floss between your teeth to remove dental plaque.
- Rinse using an antiseptic mouthwash.
- Make healthy food choices.
- Get regular professional dental hygiene care.