Original Article

A qualitative study on the present conditions and problems of oral health care in senile dementia patients

Eun-Seo Jung   Yoon-Young Choi   Kyeong-Hee Lee*   

1Department of Dental Hygiene, Shin-han University

Abstract

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the present conditions and problems of oral health care in senior citizens with dementia using a qualitative research method, through focused group interviews. Methods: Data was collected for approximately one month from May 2019. The subjects were divided into two groups: care workers and family caregivers. Fifteen participants were included in the study. Results: In-depth interviews with the care workers revealed the following three categories: characteristics of senile dementia patients, oral health care in senile dementia patients, and oral health care education. In-depth interviews with the family caregivers revealed the following four categories: characteristics of senile dementia patients, oral health care in senile dementia patients, oral health care education, and burden of care. The central themes common to both the care workers and family caregivers were the challenges owing to the characteristics of senile dementia patients, poor health condition of the senile dementia patients, difficulty in oral health care of the senile dementia patients, the desire to receive oral health care education and related information, and to access the information more easily. Additional central themes specific to the care workers were, the applicability of the intervention programs, variability between the facilities, and the problems of oral health care education. An additional central theme specific to the family caregivers was the burden of care. Conclusions: It is necessary to provide oral health care education and information to care workers and family caregivers of senile dementia patients, and to manage and support the dental health professionals ready to care for senile dementia patients. In addition, support to the family caregivers should not be limited only to the financial aspects, but also consider the psychological and emotional difficulties.

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