Educating veterans with upper extremity amputation: to achieve oral health with daily modifications

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Patton, Stacy
Hayes, Madison
Hoover, McKayla
Musson, Gracie
Van, Katelyn
Delacruz, Natalie M.
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Patton, Stacy; Hayes, Madison; Hoover, McKayla; Musson, Gracie; Van, Katelyn. 2022. Educating veterans with upper extremity amputation: to achieve oral health with daily modifications -- In Proceedings: 21st Annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p. 9

The purpose of this applied program is to educate veterans, with limited dexterity due to upper extremity loss, about the importance of oral hygiene with modifications to achieve optimal oral health goals. The program follows veterans that have upper extremity amputations, activity limitation, lower psychosocial adaptation, and less prosthetic satisfaction while including the benefits of hygiene improvement after educating physical therapists of toothbrush modifications. Wichita State Dental Hygiene students will use the “tell-show-do” method to teach licensed physical therapists oral homecare modifications. By demonstrating a variation of modifications for different dental prostheses, licensed physical therapists will learn these techniques from the dental hygiene students and be able to teach veterans who seek their care in their practices. A modified version of brushing and flossing to help increase positive results in their homecare. The modifications applied to items like toothbrushes and floss holders would include using an object that would increase the diameter of the handle or adding supportive bands to the handle and making it easier for the patient to hold. The physical therapists will learn a variety of methods using a pool noodle, bike handle grip, tennis ball, or rubber banded towel to help increase stability when trying to brush their teeth with a toothbrush or using a floss holder that might be too slim to grip. The outcome of the program will indicate that upper extremity amputee veterans will receive oral home care methods from their physical therapists to improve oral health. Due to frequent physical therapy appointments, the physical therapist can monitor technique and oral health improvement on a routine basis. Through education and modification examples, physical therapists discovered the connection between dental hygiene and their own profession in regards to providing care to veterans with upper extremity amputation. With this knowledge, amputees will develop an increased awareness of maintaining oral hygiene in addition to comprehension of proper toothbrush modification instruction.

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Presented to the 21st Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum (URCAF) held at the Rhatigan Student Center, Wichita State University, April 15, 2022.
Wichita State University
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