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Australas J Ageing. 2019 Mar;38(1):33-38. doi: 10.1111/ajag.12588. Epub 2018 Oct 7.

Improving the oral health of older people in hospital.

Author information

1
Centre for Education and Research on Ageing, Concord Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
2
Nepean Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
3
Sydney Local Health District Clinical Research Centre Hospital, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether an oral health therapist daily oral hygiene intervention, compared with the same routine performed by nurses with some dental support, can improve the oral health of older inpatients.

METHODS:

A prospective study was conducted at two tertiary referral hospitals with three phases: (i) pre-intervention (PI) usual oral care; (ii) oral health therapist intervention (OHTI); and (iii) nurse-led intervention (NI). Oral health was assessed with the Oral Health Assessment Tool.

RESULTS:

Three hundred and fifty nine patients participated across three phases (PI (n = 206); OHTI (n = 77); NI (n = 76)). In the intervention groups, there was a significant decrease in 'unhealthy' oral cleanliness at day 7, OHTI; 86 to 53% (P < 0.001), NI; 80 to 50% (P < 0.001) compared to PI; 78 to 72% (P > 0.14). Movement from 'unhealthy' oral cleanliness at day 1 to 'healthy' at day 7 was significantly higher in the OHTI (35%) and NI (37%) compared to PI (17%) (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION:

With support, nurses can improve the oral health of older patients similarly to an oral health therapist.

KEYWORDS:

dental care, aged; inpatients; oral health; patient care

PMID:
30294826
DOI:
10.1111/ajag.12588

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