Evaluation of a co-designed educational e-resource about oral health for community nurses: study protocol

BMC Nurs. 2023 Apr 3;22(1):94. doi: 10.1186/s12912-023-01268-y.


Background: Oral health is a crucial aspect of health and wellbeing for older people. Poor oral health has been found to significantly increase the risk of chronic health conditions and poor quality of life for older people. Nurses practicing in the community are well-placed to provide oral health care to older people in their own homes, yet there has been little research in this field to develop accessible support for them to do so. Previous literature, reviewed in an earlier phase of this work, revealed that there has, historically, been a paucity of oral health care education for nurses and very few educational resources have been developed in this field.

Methods: This study will evaluate an educational e-resource which has been co-designed by service users, carers and clinicians. In the first phase of research, evidence of promise will be evaluated by analysing quantitative data on community nurses' oral health attitudes and self-efficacy for oral health assessments of older people. In the second phase of research, facilitators and barriers to community nurses' provision of oral health care to older people and the acceptability of the educational e-resource will be evaluated.

Discussion: This research will investigate the potential of an educational e-resource to improve community nurses' capabilities to deliver oral health care to older people in their own homes. This research will inform both future intervention design and understanding of community nurses' knowledge and attitudes about oral health care. Facilitators and barriers to provision of this care for older people will also be explored.

Keywords: Community nursing; District nursing; Home Health Care Services; Home Healthcare; Nursing; Older people; Oral Healthcare; Oral health; Workforce.