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How can you prevent patients losing dentures in hospital?

  • Comments (18)

One day a ward sister asked a student nurse to clean all the patients’ dentures. The student got a bowl, collected the dentures and cleaned them. The rest of the shift was spent trying to find which dentures belonged to which patients.

I love these old nursing tales but this one illustrates the problem associated with keeping patients and their dentures together. How many patients wrap their dentures in tissues which are then thrown away?

 

What do you think?

  • How can we prevent the loss of dentures and hearing aids?
  • Do you have any tips?
  • Does loss of dentures and hearing aids impact on patient recovery? Is there any evidence?
  • Comments (18)

Readers' comments (18)

  • Liz Charalambous

    I really hope we can find the answer to this perennial problem, it makes such a difference to the quality of the hospital experience and has been found to help with prevention of delirium in older people if patients have access to their dentures, glasses and hearing aids. I suspect the answer lies with staff involvement rather than equipment as there have always been dentures pots available. If we just 'THINK DENTURES' every time we change a bed, throw away rubbish, and pack up a patients belongings I bet we could reduce the number of lost dentures. A set of dentures costs around £240! Not to mention the problems associated with not being able to eat.

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  • Anonymous

    Eileen Shepherd

    you are repeating my story from another page, which I wrote this weekend, without referencing it or is it a common theme? Do anonymous comments here become the property of NT, or common property or do the same rules of copyright still apply? If I take any printed information from here to reproduce elsewhere I always reference it even it if is anonymous. It happened when I was a third year student in charge of the ward and a first year was delegated to clean the dentures.

    I find it very serious when hospitals lose personal property of patients and especially something as essential as dentures or glasses which are inconvenient to do without and costly to replace. hopefully the hospital address the problem as rapidly as possible and meet the costs. Sometimes too patients are admitted as an emergency or from the street and may have costly jewelry or other valuables on them which should be dealt with appropriately to prevent their loss.

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  • eileen shepherd

    Thanks for your comments. The story about the dentures was told to me when I was a student and I am sure many nurses have heard it. As I mentioned it is a very old nursing tale retold over the years.
    The idea for this discussion came from comments on Twitter and by email early last week with Liz who has commented above. The aim is to raise awareness of the problem and try and share useful ideas. It would be great to find some solutions

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  • Tinkerbell

    Denture fix is good for 'loose' dentures but for losing dentures you can have the persons name imprinted into the denture material on the base of the denture. One of the homes I visit employs this technique.

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  • eileen shepherd

    Good idea Tinkerbell
    Do you know who does the imprinting?

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  • Tinkerbell

    Eileen, it's like an engraving into the denture, I don't know who does it but I can ask the home and find out. Neat idea and brilliantly simple. I'll post back the answer when I get back to work tomorrow as will phone them up and find out.

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  • eileen shepherd

    Thank you!

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  • Liz Charalambous

    I've heard that story many, many times too, first time on my 1st ward back in 1984!

    I have heard about the imprinting method and seen dentures with this on but there is some evidence to suggest it may encourage debris to collect and cause bacterial infections, see here... http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3125953/



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  • Tinkerbell

    Denture marking.. - Talking Point - Alzheimer's Society




    forum.alzheimers.org.uk/showthread.php?21227-Denture-marking..?






    Taken from Alzheimers society web page, apparently most dentists will do this for free.


    'When my mum was seen by a dentist in her last care home, the dentist engraved her name on her dentures for free, and there was no charge ...'

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  • Liz Charalambous | 3-Mar-2014 5:32 pm


    I can't see that there would be any more debris on the engraving than there is on and between the teeth, to be honest.

    I was around in 1973, and someone did put all the teeth in one bowl, not me, I hasten to add. However, then dentures always got a good clean every day, as did mouths, eyes, navels and other orifices.

    Shouldn't they be documented on the property list, and if they have been brought in, be documented on a care plan, and made sure they are in mouths/ears or denture pots/ hearing aid cases/or another suitable storage box/area before linen or rubbish is disposed of.

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