The integration of oral health care into day-to-day care in nursing homes: a qualitative study

Gerodontology. 2015 Jun;32(2):115-22. doi: 10.1111/ger.12062. Epub 2013 Jun 20.


Objective: This qualitative study explored barriers and enabling factors to the implementation of an oral hygiene protocol in nursing homes.

Background: Oral health care in nursing homes in Flanders (Belgium) is inadequate.

Materials and methods: Qualitative data were obtained from nurses employed in 13 nursing homes involved in two randomised controlled trials in Flanders-Belgium. Data were collected by focus group and face-to-face interviews during April 2005 and December 2009. All transcripts were analysed with support of NVivo 8 (Version 2008). Transcripts were intuitively analysed in a two-step method.

Results: Most revealed barriers were consistent with previous findings in the literature. Newly reported barriers were respect for residents' self-determination, experience based oral health care by nurses, residents' oral health status and nurses' inability to notice residents' oral health status. Demand-driven oral health care was found to be a strong enabling factor.

Conclusion: The integration of oral health care into day-to-day care seems to be a major problem due to a multitude of barriers. In future implementation innovations in oral health care an a priori assessment of influencing factors is recommended.

Keywords: barriers and enabling factors; nursing homes; oral health care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Belgium
  • Dental Care for Aged / methods*
  • Dental Care for Aged / nursing*
  • Dental Care for Aged / standards
  • Geriatric Nursing / methods*
  • Geriatric Nursing / standards
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Oral Health
  • Oral Hygiene / nursing*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Young Adult