Audit to monitor the uptake of national mouth care guidelines for children and young people being treated for cancer

School of Medicine, Health Policy and Practice, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK.
Supportive Care in Cancer (Impact Factor: 2.36). 09/2011; 19(9):1335-41. DOI: 10.1007/s00520-010-0953-3
Source: PubMed


The aim of this study is to review current oral care practices in children being treated for cancer against audit criteria derived from national guidelines, and to compare findings with data from a baseline survey carried out in 2002 prior to implementation of the national guidelines.
A telephone survey was carried out of all 21 haematology-oncology (HO) centres and seven bone marrow transplant (BMT) units within the UK Children's Cancer Study Group focusing on key audit themes of: availability of evidence-based guidelines, oral and dental care prior to and during cancer treatment, oral assessment, prevention and treatment of oral complications.
The national guidelines were used in 19/25 (76%) settings that employed written guidelines. There was little variation in advice given to patients/parents on basic oral hygiene, and this advice was commensurate with guideline recommendations. Inconsistencies in oral care assessment, reported at baseline, remained commonplace across the majority of settings. In only 10/21 HO centres, it was usual practice for children to undergo dental assessment prior to commencing cancer treatment, indicating no improvement since baseline survey. Few therapies outside of the guideline recommendations were being used. The routine use of preventive nystatin, not recommended in the guideline, had significantly decreased from baseline (by 40%).
Uptake of national guidelines by HO/BMT settings was good however certain oral care practices fell short of the guideline recommendations. Routine dental checks need to be embedded in practice. Further consideration is needed as to how oral assessment might be used more effectively in informing treatment.

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