Oral health-related quality of life in patients receiving home-care nursing: associations with aspects of dental status and xerostomia
Objective: To explore the differences in oral status, dental attendance and dry mouth problems between patients with long-term disease with high and low scores on Oral Health Impact Profile 14 (OHIP 14) and how patients cope with oral problems such as xerostomia and a reduced ability to brush their teeth.
Background: There has been a lack of studies of oral health and oral health-related quality of life in the frail elderly within the community services.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted with 137 patients receiving home-care nursing. Structured interviews were conducted by student nurses using OHIP-14, items from the Xerostomia Inventory and questions concerning dental visit habits, brushing of teeth and data from medical records.
Results: Eighty-three per cent of patients had natural teeth and 60% had only natural teeth. ‘Natural teeth only’ indicated a low score on OHIP-14. Problems with brushing and items concerning xerostomia indicated a high score on OHIP-14. Contrasts in the assessments concerning brushing of teeth and xerostomia indicated low priority from the patients themselves and the nursing staff.
Conclusion: Community health services should focus upon oral health. Both patients and nurses should assess the need for regular brushing of teeth carried out by home-care nurses. Assessment and treatment of dry mouth problems should have higher priority.