Supportive Care

Oral Care for Hospice Patients With Severe Trismus

Hannah Wrigley

Elizabeth Johnston Taylor

palliative care, hospice care
CJON 2012, 16(2), 113-114. DOI: 10.1188/12.CJON.113-114

Oral care is a hallmark of attentive, high-quality nursing care. Oral care improves a patient's sense of well-being, communication, and nutritional status, and lowers the risk for pneumonia. However, for patients with severe trismus, oral care may seem impossible. Trismus is the inability to open the mouth more than 35 mm and often results from medical therapies for head and neck cancers. This article details a simple approach to oral care that was implemented successfully with five hospice patients with severe trismus.

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