Collaborative Partnerships Support the Implementation of Evidence-Based Nursing Practice

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Heather McConnell, RN, BScN, MA(Ed)
International Affairs and Best Practice Guidelines Programs, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), Toronto, ON, Canada
Irmajean Bajnok, RN, MSN, PhD
International Affairs and Best Practice Guidelines Programs, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the elements of synergy through collaborative partnerships that support evidence-based nursing practice.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe key outcomes of this collaborative partnership, and the impact they have had on nursing practice and resident outcomes.

During the late 1990’s a public health department in Ontario, Canada recognized the impact of poor oral health on adults with special needs (including the elderly) and has since supported the development and sustainability of an award winning oral health promotion program.  A multitude of resources and practical teaching tools have been developed over the years, and as a result there has been a growth in dental staff with special expertise in this area of practice.  
A provincial nursing association has a signature program with a mandate to develop, disseminate, implement, and evaluate clinical and healthy work environment best practice guidelines.  In mid 2006, this association contacted the public health unit seeking a Registered Dental Hygienist to participate on an interdisciplinary guideline development panel whose mandate was to establish recommendations to support evidence-based nursing practice in the area of oral care.  The guideline, Oral Health: Nursing Assessment and Interventions, was published in December 2008, and focuses on the provision of oral hygiene care to adults with special needs. Subsequently, the nursing association and public health department have partnered in the production of two instructional DVD’s: Oral Care for Residents with Dementia (2008) and Oral Care for Xerostomia, Dysphagia, and Mucositis (2009).
This partnership has resulted in the production of evidence-based, user-friendly, practice focused health promotion tools that have the potential to positively influence the oral health of adults with special needs and the elderly, not only in Ontario but across Canada and beyond.  A number of positive, unexpected outcomes have also been experienced because of this collaboration, and will be shared through this presentation.