Oral health of older people admitted to hospital for needs assessment

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Ling, GY
Love, RM
Macfadyen, EE
Thomson, WM
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2014
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Abstract

Objectives: To describe the clinical oral health status, treatment needs and oral-health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) of older people admitted to older persons' wards at Dunedin Public Hospital due to a sudden worsening of their general health. Participants and methods: A systematic oral assessment was undertaken for a consecutive case series of 200 patients (59.5% female; mean age 82.6 years, sd 6.6) admitted to older person's wards at Dunedin Public Hospital. The Oral Health Impact Profile-20 (OHIP-20) was used to assess OHRQoL. Results: One in three (36.0%) had been living independently at home prior to admission, and over half (55.0%) had been admitted for a medical reason which required assessment. Half (50.0%) of the participants were dentate (with an average of 16.8 teeth). There was an average of 1.9 decayed teeth present in the dentate group; 70.7% of individuals required restorations or extractions, and about 90% required only simple scaling of the teeth and prophylaxis. A reline or a replacement denture were required by three-quarters of those with dentures. Almost two-thirds of participants did not have a regular dentist, and fewer than one in three had made a dental visit in the previous year. One in six described their oral health as 'fair' or 'poor', and just under one-third reported dry mouth. Dentate participants, those without xerostomia, and those reporting better oral health had better OHRQoL, reflected in lower OHIP-20 scores. Affecting 37.1% of participants, functional limitation was the most commonly experienced of the OHIP-20 domains, followed by physical disability and physical pain (18.0% and 15.6% respectively). Conclusions: The oral health of medically compromised and functionally dependent but cognitively competent older people in this study is generally poor. If transfer to long-term care is indicated, early and proper preventive measures and appropriate dental contact should be advocated in order to reduce morbidity and improve quality of life for older people.

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New Zealand Dental Journal
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110
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4
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© 2014 New Zealand Dental Association. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
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Dentistry
Dentistry not elsewhere classified
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