Attitudes to and knowledge about oral health care among nursing home personnel – an area in need of improvement
Background: In 1999, a dental reform became law in Sweden that regulated both dental care to dependent individuals and training in oral health care for nursing home personnel. Substantial resources have been channelled into these efforts, but the outcome of these efforts has not been evaluated. The aim of this study was to explore attitudes to and knowledge about oral health care among nursing home personnel more than 5 years after the law was adopted, that being 2005.
Methods: A total of 454 individuals employed at nursing homes answered a questionnaire of 16 multiple-choice items concerning attitudes to and knowledge about oral health care.
Results: Eighty-nine per cent considered oral health care to be an important part of good nursing. The answers indicated problems, however, when it came to its implementation and knowledge, and 35% stated that they had had no formal education in oral health care.
Conclusions: Despite generally positive oral health care attitudes, it is important that oral health care education is available to and made of interest for all nursing home personnel, especially in light of the increase in number of natural teeth and frequency of crowns and bridges among dependent elderly.