March 14, 2017
Dental hygiene student Regina Arey (’17) has authored an op-ed for the Bangor Daily News about her IPEC Mini-grant project.
After observing the dental care provided to one of her relatives in a nursing home, Arey was inspired to develop a student-led project to address oral healthcare issues in the aging population. For their IPEC Mini-grant, Arey and student collaborators Cassidy Banville (Dental Hygiene, ’17), Carolyn Dacey (Dental Hygiene, ’17), Sarah Fogg (Dental Hygiene, ’17), Casey Fisher (COP, ’19) and Heather Smith (MSOT, ’17) have been conducting training sessions at nursing homes and heathcare facilities around southern Maine.
In preliminary trainings, the students first spoke with staff and residents to assess their questions and concerns regarding oral care. They then created an educational presentation tailored to these questions, addressing the need for daily brushing, flossing and cleaning of partials or dentures. In addition, they discussed oral bone degeneration, as well as medications that can cause dry mouth and other oral health problems. Dental models were utilized to demonstrate proper flossing and flossing technique, as well as denture cleaning.
Speaking about the project, Arey stated “I truly believe this interprofessional project will not only benefit the students and staff involved but also the community as a whole.”
At St. Andre Health Care Facility in Biddeford, ME, Infection Control Practitioner Sue Gagnier noted that the presentation was a helpful tool for staff, as well as a great way to raise awareness for the importance of oral health. Staff at Gorham House in Gorham also gave positive feedback, inviting Arey and her colleagues for a second training this winter.
To learn more about the University of New England's Interprofessional Education Collaborative, visit www.une.edu/wchp/ipec
To learn more about the Department of Dental Hygiene, visit www.une.edu/wchp/dental
To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions