Healthcare House, Snaygill Ind. Estate, Skipton, BD23 2QR (01756) 706050
Dementia Care, Industry News
In September 2015, the Health England Education Board announced that the use of the traditional pink, foam-tipped mouth swabs had been banned within NHS Wales.

These instantly-recognisable oral care tools have been commonplace in hospitals, care homes and dental surgeries for many years. The foam swabs provided a low-cost, convenient way to administer oral care to patients, so why has the NHS Wales taken the drastic step to ban them?

At first glance, these disposable ‘foam lollies’ look innocent enough, but, delve into the NHS statistics and they have a potentially deadly design flaw.

“The foam head could not be retrieved. The patient subsequently died…”

Back in 2012, an incident in Wales was reported to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency which triggered a medical safety alert. Whilst a healthcare professional was administering mouth care to an elderly patient, the foam tip became dislodged in the patient’s mouth. Tragically, despite emergency intervention, the foam tip could not be retrieved and the patient subsequently died. 

Due to their low cost design, the potentially life threatening design flaw with traditional mouth swabs was that the foam tips could be relatively easily pulled off, especially when the tips were soaked in water before use or if the patient were to bite down – a common response to oral care in patients living with dementia, for example.

Around 800 similar incidents of the foam tips becoming dislodged, retained in the mouth or torn during use were reported by the National Patient Safety Agency between 2008 and 2012. This led to all foam tipped swabs being banned for use in Wales, with England subsequently following suit in several areas of the country.


What are the practical alternatives to foam tipped swabs?

MouthEze oral care sticks were developed as a safe, practical response to this report and provide numerous improvements over the traditional, outdated swabs.

A ‘Class 1 Medical Device’ for use in delivering safe mouthcare, MouthEze sticks are suitable for use in any care setting, including hospitals, care homes, hospices and dental practices.

The plastic sticks feature a cone shaped head with smooth, rounded filaments, made of soft material. Neither the heads, nor the filaments can be easily removed, even if they are left soaking in water overnight.

By applying a rotating action during use, MouthEze sticks can collect debris as they clean, as well as delivering water, held between the soft filaments, to the patient’s mouth. MouthEze can be steralised and re-used for up to one week.

A Breakthrough In Specialist Mouthcare

The ergonomic design of MouthEze has been assessed and tested for safe use with a wide range of patients groups, including;

  • Older people,
  • People living with dementia,
  • Patients with neurological conditions such as stroke,
  • Cancer therapy patients,
  • People with learning disabilities
  • And patients in specialised intensive care units.

MouthEze can also be used safely with ventilated patients who are at risk of contracting ventilated associated pneumonia (VAP). MouthEze is for those people who are dependent or require assistance for mouth care and for people where conventional methods i.e. toothbrushes and sponge swabs are not suitable.


Deliver Net is delighted to have been awarded an exclusive UK distribution contract by the team behind MouthEze. We now carry packs of 25 MouthEze sticks in stock, available for next-day delivery if require.

To place an order for MouthEze, either shop online or call our Customer Service team on (01756) 706050.

Housekeeping & Laundry

RP Adam Ltd (Arpal Group) has worked successfully with Deliver Net for many years within the residential care sector providing robust cleaning and disinfection chemicals that can be diluted cost effectively.

At the core of our market leading chemicals offer we supply care homes with technologically advanced dosing equipment capable of accurate chemical dosing to keep costs and consumption down. Far too many suppliers either neglect or don’t invest sufficiently in professional engineering services for liquid laundry and automatic dishwashing, which can cause serious issues for the customer and supplier.

Where some chemical suppliers may “talk the talk” about regular service calls, these claims need to be substantiated. At RP Adam we “walk the walk” by continuously checking the integrity of tubing, dosing pump calibrations and pump heads as part of our regular service calls; changing them as and when they begin to show signs of wear and tear. By adopting this proactive approach to engineering support, we reduce the incidence of breakdown call-outs and cleaning downtime.

Dosing Units

Chemical dosing units in a busy professional environment work hard – very hard – sometimes 24/7. As such, there will be wear and tear on equipment. With constant dosing, the chemicals eventually put severe strain on the pump tubing which, if left unattended, would eventually lead to tube failure or inconsistent dosing. Regular service calls and preventative maintenance checks can highlight impending problems, be fixed on the spot and avoid problems further down the line.

Lana Turner, who leads RP Adam’s engineering services says: “We have a dedicated engineering helpline, a team of administrators and field service operatives (CSR’s) who are all trained in troubleshooting and preventative maintenance. Our CSR’s are despatched to our customers’ sites using an automated planning system managed at HQ. This enables us to see who is closest to a call out and how quickly we can attend site. All calls are logged on our customer database and reported back using real time reporting so we can monitor the jobs and ensure they are followed through to the customers’ satisfaction”.

Customer Expectations

Customers will not live with a two or three day lead-time to attend broken or faulty equipment and will invariably look for an alternative supplier if the response times are not sufficiently good. RP Adam offers a market leading engineering service, led by an experienced in-house engineering team who liaise directly with customers and engineers to ensure a prompt, reliable and professional service for both our end user care home customers and our distributor partner Deliver Net.

Lana adds: “Over the years we have carved out a reputation reliability and capability and now have access to over 30 engineers throughout the UK. They are briefed to ensure they work to our Code of Conduct and the process works very efficiently from logging the initial call, despatching the engineer, to completing and closing off the job within as short a time-scale as possible. We all work hard to provide a fantastic service and it helps to cement customer loyalty.”

Wasted time is wasted money; therefore a prompt, reliable, efficient and professional engineering service from your chemical supplier is essential in maintaining the operational efficiency of a commercial operation where dosing equipment is on site and in-use. Customers need to know that, if a breakdown is reported, it is dealt with in a prompt and efficient manner to minimise the downtime for the care home operator.


It is important that, as part of the regular service visits, the chemical supplier visually checks the location, condition and operational efficiency of all dosing equipment provided by the company.

To ensure our field technicians focus on this area, RP Adam now affixes specially encoded RFID tags to all free-on-loan electronic and manual chemical dosing equipment. There is also a welcome tag at each site which maintains a log of all equipment on site and gives the CSR a site map of all areas where tagged equipment is located. This is particularly important for larger sites as this ensures that we check all critical areas of our customer’s premises.

Our CSR then scans the encoded equipment sticker and reports on any material deficiencies with the equipment – they will either fix it there and then or process an engineering request. All jobs are recorded, photographed and emailed via iPad to an appropriate person at our Head Office in real time, and immediate steps are taken to rectify the problem. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. RP Adam integrated this technology into its business in 2013 to enhance its customer service quality and operational efficiency.