The impact of nutritional status and the ability of the patient to fight infection directly are related to the practice of the WOC nurse, who is well versed in the care of the body's integument with respect to patients with ostomies, wounds, tubes, and incontinence. The status of the patient's oral cavity and its relationship with nutrition and wound healing have not, however, been adequately addressed by WOC nurses. Involvement of the WOC nurse in preventive and therapeutic oral care can ensure a healthier gastrointestinal tract, improved nutritional status, and improved outcomes in caring for the person with a wound, ostomy, or incontinence. This article reviews the literature related to oral care and discusses its relevance to WOC nursing practice.
Reprint requests: Sharon A. Aronovitch, PhD, RN, CETN, 21 Leaf Rd., Delmar, NY 12054.
Copyright © 1997 by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society