Oral hygiene caregivers’ educational programme improves oral health conditions in institutionalised independent and functional elderly

Portella FF, Rocha AW, Haddad DC, Fortes CB, Hugo FN, Padilha DM, Samuel SM.
Gerodontology. 2013 Mar 14. doi: 10.1111/ger.12049. [Epub ahead of print]

Tutorial Education Program, School of Dentistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil; Dental Materials Laboratory, School of Dentistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to determine the impact of an oral hygiene education programme for caregivers on the oral health of institutionalised elderly and to examine the effect of disability and low muscle strength on programme outcomes.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The subjects of this study were geriatric patients (n = 80) from a nursing home. Katz Index for activities of daily living, handgrip strength and mucosal-plaque score (MPS) was evaluated at baseline and 1 year after intervention. The intervention consisted of an educational programme and specific guidelines for caregivers (to perform oral hygiene for dependent elderly and to supervise the independent elderly during oral hygiene practices). Differences on MPS were evaluated using a paired-sample t-test. A stratified analysis was carried out to identify differences in response to the programme according to the Katz Index and handgrip strength of elderly.

RESULTS:  The MPS was significantly reduced (p = 0.001) at follow-up; however, a separate analysis showed that only the independent elderly (p = 0.002) and those with normal muscle strength (p = 0.006) showed a reduction in MPS during the follow-up examination.

CONCLUSION: The oral hygiene education programme for caregivers resulted in a positive impact on oral hygiene of the independent and functional elderly.