Oral care in hospital settings: Breaking the vicious circle of older adult deconditioning

Keiko Oda, Jed Montayre, John Parsons, Michal Boyd

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Hospitalized older adults frequently develop aspiration pneumonia, swallowing dysfunction (dysphagia), and sarcopenia. In the current study, we propose a framework that incorporates these three factors into a vicious circle that leads to deconditioning, a condition frequently experienced by this vulnerable population. Viewing aspiration pneumonia, dysphagia, and sarcopenia, along with their interrelationships through the lens of this vicious circle, illuminates the critical role that oral health plays in deconditioning. Moreover, this framework highlights oral care as a key nursing intervention for reducing deconditioning in hospitalized older adults. Supporting this view, several studies have shown that oral care can improve health outcomes for hospitalized older adults. However, despite oral care being an essential nursing intervention that restores oral function and promotes patient wellness, it is one of the most neglected nursing interventions. Missed oral care occurs due to staff’s limited awareness of its significance for care-dependent older adults in hospital settings. We hope that this vicious circle paradigm helps raise awareness of the significance of oral care to prevent deconditioning in hospitalized older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-12
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Gerontological Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Gerontology


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