Oral health champions in long-term care facilities—a pilot study

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Abstract

This preintervention/postintervention pilot study examined impact of onsite support by a dental hygiene champion (DHC) on oral health and quality of life (QOL) of elderly residents in three long-term care facilities (LTCFs) in Arkansas. Oral health and oral health-related QOL were operationalized using the Oral Health Assessment Tool (OHAT) and Geriatric Oral Health Assessment Index (GOHAI), respectively. CNAs in Facility A received standardized oral health education/materials with onsite DHC support. Facility B received education/materials only. Facility C served as control. Data analyses included Wilcoxon-signed rank tests (OHAT) and repeated measures ANOVA (GOHAI) (p ≤ .05). OHAT postintervention data in Facility A showed significant improvements in three measured areas (tongue health, denture status, and oral cleanliness); in Facility B, one area (tongue health); and none in Facility C. No significant differences were found in GOHAI scores across facilities.

Findings suggest that the presence of DHCs in LTCFs may positively impact the oral health of CNA-assisted residents.

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