Aim: This paper is a report of a study evaluating the effect of a repeated education programme for nursing staff in a home for older people.
Background: A strong relationship exists between oral infections and general health complications (especially aspiration pneumonia) among nursing home residents and hospitalized older people. Thus, nursing staff need to be educated in oral hygiene measures.
Methods: Forty-three nursing home resident older people (12 men, 31 women, age range 69-99 years) were included in a dental hygiene and gingivitis evaluation using gingival bleeding scores and modified plaque scores. Evaluation was conducted before and 3 weeks after a repeated dental hygiene education for nursing staff at a nursing home in Sweden in 2008. Dental hygiene education had been given 1.5 years previously.
Findings: Forty-one residents (12 men and 29 women) were available for evaluation after the repeated dental hygiene education (one died, one had had teeth extracted). There was a reduction in gingival bleeding scores (P < 0.001), and in plaque scores (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Repeated dental hygiene education improves the dental hygiene among nursing home resident older people. In order to succeed it may be necessary to address attitudes and perceptions towards oral care in such a dental hygiene education programme for nursing staff. Improved oral hygiene contributes to reducing the incidence of healthcare-associated pneumonia among nursing home resident older people, and thus to reduced healthcare costs.