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Improving the oral health of older adults with dementia/cognitive impairment living in a residential aged care facility.

  • Georg, Diana
Published Article
International journal of evidence-based healthcare
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2006
DOI: 10.1111/j.1479-6988.2006.00032.x
PMID: 21631755


Background  Studies conducted in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) indicate that high levels of oral diseases and conditions are prevalent in older adults who have dementia. Poor oral health impacts on eating ability, weight, speech, hydration, severity of behavioural problems, appearance and social interactions. This study looked at a group of older adults with dementia in a RACF site in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia. It is known that in nursing home residents with dementia dental pain and problems are under-detected and under-treated. Strategy  An audit was conducted to assess the level of compliance of the RACFs oral hygiene care practices with established best practice. The audit questions were based on current best practice as identified from a rigorous international systematic review of the subject. A clinical audit software program (The Joanna Briggs Institute, Practical Application of Clinical Evidence System (JBI PACES)) was used to manage the audit. An audit, feedback, re-audit cycle was followed. Stakeholders of the project were identified from which a Project team was formed. The Project team analysed the results of the first audit, conducted a situational analysis and formulated and implemented a strategic plan to target specific criteria for a change management process. Short-term and longer-term strategies were identified. Those criteria targeted as achievable in the short term were then re-audited after 6 weeks to determine the effectiveness of the change management process. Findings  The criterion Daily cleaning and night-time removal of dentures are documented was re-audited and although there was a slight increase in compliance across the site this increase was not statistically significant. The criterion Resident's dentures are individually marked was re-audited and showed a large increase in compliance across the site, this increase was statistically significant.

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