• attitudes;
  • dependent elderly;
  • disabled patients;
  • nursing;
  • oral care

This study compares differences in attitude, of oral health care of nursing personnel working with dependent elderly and severely disabled patients. A questionnaire was administered to 398 personnel covering (1) personal oral health care habits. (2) experiences and attitudes in assisting oral care and (3) willingness to assist patients/residents with their daily oral hygiene. Three hundred and sixty - four persons answered the questionnaire, including 70 registered nurses, 148 nursing assistants and 146 home care aides. The study revealed that oral care assistance is viewed as more disagreeable than other nursing activities. Although registered nurses were found to have more positive attitudes toward oral care assistance than the other nursing groups, they were seldom invoked in the daily practice of oral hygiene care. The results indicate a gap between knowledge and practice in nursing personnel's attitudes toward oral health care of dependent elderly and severely disabled patients.