alexa Oral health care issues in aged care facilities in Western Australia: resident and family caregiver views
Medicine

Medicine

Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research

Author(s): Glenys Anna Paley, Linda SlackSmith, Martin OGrady

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Objective:  To investigate resident and family perceptions and attitudes towards oral health care and access to dental services for aged care facility residents. Method:  Focus groups and individual interviews with residents and family caregivers were conducted at aged care facilities in the Perth Metropolitan Area, Western Australia. Results:  There were 30 participants from twelve aged care facilities (21 residents and nine family caregivers). Five focus groups comprising both residents and family caregivers were conducted in addition to three face-to-face interviews with residents. Both groups considered oral health very important to overall health and quality of life. Family caregivers noted a lack of dental check-ups and specialised professional oral care, particularly in high-care facilities. Low care residents were more likely to have regular dental check-ups or dental treatment and off-site dental visits were straightforward due to their mobility and family member assistance. Family caregivers noted time limitations and lack of expertise in oral health care amongst staff in high-care facilities, and the challenges of maintaining oral care for residents with poor mobility or cognitive impairment. It was considered important that staff and management liaise with family caregivers and family members in provision of oral care. Conclusion:  Regular oral care, assessment and treatment were considered limited, particularly for residents in high care. There is a need for comprehensive, ongoing oral health programmes involving appropriately trained and empathetic dental health professionals and staff to improve oral health care in Perth’s aged care facilities.

This article was published in Wiley Online and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research

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