Foundations celebrate joint oral health initiative

Published: Oct. 22, 2015

Caregivers and leaders gathered this week to celebrate a new initiative funded by the Delta Dental Foundation, in partnership with the Sparrow Foundation, to provide customized oral health kits to every Patient admitted to Sparrow Hospital.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Delta Dental Foundation, we at Sparrow Hospital are able to launch an evidence-based best practice project that will reduce hospital stays, reduce costs and improve patient satisfaction by reducing cases of hospital-acquired pneumonia,” said Mary Lou Wesley, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Sparrow Hospital.

The program was sparked by a joint research project launched by Sparrow Nurses Mary-Kathryn Medei and Brooke Wood, and overseen by Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist Chastity Warren, to improve oral hygiene and reduce cases of hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) at Sparrow Hospital.

HAP is the second most common infection that originates in a hospital, associated with added costs of more than $40,000 per Patient and an extra seven to nine days to a Patient’s hospital stay.

Through the Oral Care Project, all Patients admitted into the hospital will receive an improved set of oral health care supplies to use during their stay, including a higher-quality soft-bristle toothbrush, toothpaste with sodium bicarbonate, alcohol-free antiseptic mouthwash and a suction toothbrush kit for Patients with difficulty swallowing or spitting.

About 50,000 pre-packaged kits were funded by the $175,000 grant. Patients and their families will also receive materials designed to educate them about the overall health benefits of good oral hygiene.

Thanks to the efforts of many, the shared commitment of these two prominent foundations will help to improve the health of the people of the mid-Michigan region.

“Delta Dental is committed to improving the oral health in the communities we serve,” said Delta Dental Foundation Director Teri Battaglieri. “We are proud to partner with Sparrow on this oral health project which has the potential to prevent serious infection and improve Patient outcomes.”

For more than fifty years, the Sparrow Foundation has served as the charitable home of Sparrow. Gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations have been invested into programs, facilities and technology that support the exceptional care provided to every individual, regardless of an ability to pay. Contributions to the Sparrow Foundation are making a difference in the lives of our Patients, their families, and our region, each and every day. To get involved, visit today.

The Delta Dental Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization established in 1980, which serves as the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina. The Foundation’s goals are to support education and research for the advancement of dental science and to promote the oral health of the public through education and service activities, particularly for those with special needs. For more information, visit the Delta Dental Foundation online.