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Perceptions on Oral Care Needs, Barriers, and Practices Among Managers and Staff in Long-Term Care Settings for Older People in Flanders, Belgium: A Cross-sectional Survey

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to explore oral health perception and oral care needs, barriers, and current practices as perceived by managers and staff in long-term care organizations for older people in Flanders. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study where 2 questionnaires were developed, one for managers and one for caregivers, and were validated in Flemish long-term care organizations. Descriptive analyses and multivariable generalized linear models evaluated the main outcomes and their associations with determinants such as the size of the organization, the presence of an oral health policy, collaboration with a dentist, among others. RESULTS: A total of 145 managers and 197 caregivers completed the questionnaire. More than 50% of caregivers and managers perceived their residents' oral health as mediocre to good. Collaboration with a dentist (B = 0.84) and oral health care involvement (B = 0.08) within the organization showed a strong association with a positive perception of oral health. Lack of time (57%) and care resistance (70%) were the most important barriers perceived by caregivers. Guidelines concerning oral care were not available or were unknown to 52% of the caregivers. Having an oral health policy within the organization was strongly associated with the correct use of guidelines for daily care of natural teeth (B = 1.25) and of dental prosthesis (B = 1.15). DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: The results emphasize that collaborating with a dentist and the presence of an oral health policy in care organizations are important for a positive perception of the oral health of the residents and for the adoption of guidelines by caregivers and managers. In addition, training on handling care refusal should be included in the overall training. These results are crucial input for the development of a methodology for implementing a structured oral care policy in long-term care facilities.
Tijdschrift: Innovation in Aging
ISSN: 2399-5300
Issue: 5
Volume: 6
Jaar van publicatie:2022