Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Nicole Harris


Individuals recovering from a stroke or hip fracture may have comorbidities, medication side effects, and symptoms that can decrease independence with self-care tasks and lead to a decline in oral health (DeBiase & Austin, 2003). Poor oral health has been associated with systemic infections, diabetes, aspiration pneumonia, and other comorbidities that negatively impact overall health and recovery from illness or injury (Danckert, Ryan, Plummer, & Williams, 2016). Few patients are aware of the importance of oral care and its impact on overall health. Even fewer patients are aware of the importance of oral care after stroke or hip fracture and its connection to pneumonia, systemic infections, and other health complications (Ajwani, Ferguson, Kong, Villarosa, & George, 2021). While inpatient rehabilitation staff report being educated on the importance of oral hygiene and basic oral health principles, most of their education focuses on brushing teeth only as a self-care task and not as an important component of overall health (Horne, McCracken, Walls, Tyrrell, & Smith, 2014). Implementation of oral hygiene protocols in healthcare facilities, as well as staff and patient education, can improve patient oral health outcomes (Bonwell, Parsons, Best, & Hise, 2014). Occupational therapists are skilled in addressing deficits related to self-care performance, including oral hygiene tasks and health-related knowledge deficits. The purpose of this scholarly project was to provide both patients and staff in an inpatient rehabilitation setting with educational materials aimed at promoting quality oral hygiene practices and increasing knowledge of the relationship between oral and systemic health.