Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation Awards $227,548 to Genesis to Improve Oral Health of Patients
DES MOINES, Iowa – Jan. 10, 2020 -- Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation has awarded a grant of $227,548 to Genesis Medical Center with the goals of improving the oral health of hospitalized patients and preventing pneumonia admissions.
Genesis Medical Center staff will use the grant funding to implement a program of prevention of non-ventilated infections in the hospital setting. The program will include improved oral care of patients and staff training to emphasize the importance of oral care to patients in a hospital environment.
Pneumonia is the most common healthcare associated infection in the world, occurring at a rate between 5 to 20 cases per 1,000 hospital admissions. Healthcare acquired pneumonia substantially increases cost of care and mortality rates.
“We know the mouth is the gateway to good health and prevention of illness,’’ said Jordan Voigt, president, Genesis Medical Center, Davenport. “By providing consistent oral care using improved oral care supplies, Genesis believes it can reduce hospital-acquired pneumonia significantly in our medical centers.
“This initiative will benefit patients by lowering their risk of serious infections requiring hospital stays. Each hospital acquired infection requiring or extending hospital admissions is not only a possible danger to patients, it is expensive for the patient and for Genesis.
“Consistent oral care with better oral care supplies will allow Genesis staff to lower risk of serious infections and provide patients with a safer hospital experience.’’
Annette Holst, RN, MSN, Nursing Professional Development Specialist, said the implementation of the oral care project at Genesis Medical Center will include eliminating barriers to oral care, increasing staff and patient access to quality oral care products, and, improving staff and patient education.
“Study results have shown that providing consistent oral care two to four times each day may decrease non-ventilated hospital-acquired pneumonia by 40 to 60 percent,’’ said Holst, who helped write the grant application. “In areas where projects like this have been undertaken, the results have been very positive. Programs like this reduce non-ventilated cases of pneumonia and reduce lengths of stay.’’
Even though its name is synonymous with oral health, Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation is shifting its funding strategy beginning in 2020 to create stronger ties between oral health and overall health. While a majority of the funding will continue to be concentrated in oral health, the new Beyond 2020 Foundation strategy also looks for opportunities to improve overall wellness, mental health and vision health through grassroots community health initiatives.
“This shift enables the Foundation to be a larger catalyst for change to help improve the overall health and wellness of all Iowans,” said Jeff Russell, president and chief executive officer, Delta Dental of Iowa. “The Foundation’s impact on oral health care for all Iowans remains central in our focus and that will not waver. To have greater impact we must include and support the connection between oral health and overall wellness including vision and behavioral health.”
The Foundation’s funding portfolio will range from smaller grants to support one time, short-term projects such as providing oral health supplies to larger grants that support infrastructure and systemic change in collaboration with community partners. The broad range is intended to spark innovation and improve the overall health and wellness of all Iowans.
About Delta Dental of Iowa
Delta Dental of Iowa, a not-for-profit health and wellness company, provides dental and vision benefits to more than 1.2 million Iowans. Locally focused and nationally networked, Delta Dental of Iowa invests in dental and vision health projects that focus on access to care, prevention, education and research. Since 2002, Delta Dental has invested more than $38 million to improve the oral and overall health of Iowans.
Delta Dental of Iowa is a member of the Delta Dental Plans Association, the leading national network of independent dental service corporations. The Delta Dental member companies provide dental benefits to more than 80 million Americans in more than 141,000 employee groups throughout the country. For more information, visit the website at www.deltadentalia.com.