Oral care practices in stroke: findings from the UK and Australia

Munirah Bangee, Cintia Mayel Martinez-Garduno, Marian C. Brady, Dominique A. Cadilhac, Simeon Dale, Margaret A. Hurley, Elizabeth McInnes, Sandy Middleton, Tahera Patel, Caroline L. Watkins, Elizabeth Lightbody*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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To examine current practice, perceptions of healthcare professionals and factors affecting provision for oral care post-stroke in the UK and Australia.

Poor oral care has negative health consequences for people post-stroke. Little is known about oral care practice in hospital for people post-stroke and factors affecting provision in different countries.

A cross-sectional survey.

Questionnaires were mailed to stroke specialist nurses in UK and Australian hospitals providing inpatient acute or rehabilitation care post-stroke. The survey was conducted between April and November 2019. Non-respondents were contacted up to five times.

Completed questionnaires were received from 150/174 (86%) hospitals in the UK, and 120/162 (74%) in Australia. A total of 52% of UK hospitals and 30% of Australian hospitals reported having a general oral care protocol, with 53% of UK and only 13% of Australian hospitals reporting using oral care assessment tools. Of those using oral care assessment tools, 50% of UK and 38% of Australian hospitals used local hospital-specific tools. Oral care assessments were undertaken on admission in 73% of UK and 57% of Australian hospitals. Staff had received oral care training in the last year in 55% of UK and 30% of Australian hospitals. Inadequate training and education on oral care for pre-registration nurses were reported by 63% of UK and 53% of Australian respondents.

Unacceptable variability exists in oral care practices in hospital stroke care settings. Oral care could be improved by increasing training, performing individual assessments on admission, and using standardised assessment tools and protocols to guide high quality care. The study highlights the need for incorporating staff training and the use of oral care standardised assessments and protocols in stroke care in order to improve patient outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number169
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2021


  • nursing
  • oral hygiene
  • mouth care
  • protocol
  • survey
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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