Home care elderly have poorer oral health than nursing home residents, Study says
Researchers have recently noted that oral health among older people in need of long-term care is poor and should be improved, as published in the Journal of Dentistry.
Previous international studies on the oral health of people in need of LTC focused primarily on the nursing home setting. They found poor oral cleanliness and health as well as a high prevalence of gum, teeth, mucosa, and denture problems. Recent reforms have addressed these issues by strengthening cooperation between dentists and nursing homes as well as increasing remuneration for the provision of dental care to people in need of LTC.
Hence, JonasCzwikla and colleagues from the Department of Health Services Research, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany conducted this study to describe and compare the objective and subjective oral health of older nursing home residents and home care recipients, and to investigate whether oral health is associated with sociodemographic characteristics and the long-term care (LTC) setting.
The authors assessed two German studies in which the oral health of 246 nursing home residents and 90 home care recipients aged ≥60 years was evaluated objectively using the Oral Health Assessment Tool (OHAT) and subjectively using the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP). OHAT and OHIP scores were compared between both settings. Multivariable logistic regressions were applied to investigate whether oral health is associated with sex, age group, LTC grade, and LTC setting.
The following results were observed-
- OHAT and OHIP mean scores in the home care setting was higher compared to the nursing home setting (OHAT: 3.13 vs. 1.28, p < .0001; OHIP: 7.81 vs. 2.15, p < .0001).
- The adjusted odds ratios for poor objective and subjective oral health for home care recipients vs. nursing home residents were 6.71 (95 % confidence interval 3.29−13.69) and 4.92 (2.77−8.76).
- No significant associations with sociodemographic characteristics were found.
Therefore, it was concluded that "oral health was poor in both settings, but home care recipients were more likely to have poor oral health than nursing home residents. Interventions to improve oral health is needed in the nursing home setting and, even more importantly, in the home care setting."