Professional Caregivers' Oral Care Practices and Beliefs for Elderly Clients Aging In Place

Ashley M. Delgado, Thomas Prihoda, Carol A Nguyen, Beatriz Hicks, Lynn A Smiley, Melanie Taverna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: As recently as the 1990s long-term care facilities (LTCFs) were the main housing option for semi- or fully-dependent elders. Today, 90% of those 65 and older want to "age in place." The growth of the elderly population that want to "age in place" will require increasing numbers of professional caregivers to assist in oral care practices. The purpose of this study was to address the gap in the knowledge about the oral care practices and beliefs of professional caregivers who work for non-medical in-home care companies charged in the care of "aging in place" elders.

METHODS: The Nursing Dental Coping Belief Scale was used in a descriptive cross-sectional study. Professional caregivers (n=67) employed by 3 non-medical in-home care companies in South Texas completed the survey. The survey gathered demographic information, oral care practice questions and oral health belief questions. Statistics used for data analysis included chi-square contingency table analysis. The level of significance was set at p<0.05 for all analyses.

RESULTS: Non-medical in-home care companies are not mandated by law to provide training, yet professional caregivers wanted more training in brushing and flossing (85%). A majority (60%) reported being trained. Most (85%) looked inside their client's mouth yet nearly 18% did not floss their client's teeth and only 31% knew if their clients wore dentures.

CONCLUSION: While this was a small study, it provides preliminary information that professional caregivers, who serve clients aging in place, want more oral care training. Professional caregivers would be better served if there were more thorough and frequent training provided with managerial oversight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-248
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of dental hygiene : JDH
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • aging in place
  • elderly
  • non-medical in-home care companies
  • oral care
  • oral health
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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