• Oral Care and Dementia: The Nursing Aide Role

      Zens-Holtgrewe, Therese Angela; Fried, Jacquelyn L. (2011)
      Despite the nursing profession's charge to deliver basic oral hygiene services to residents of long term care (LTC) facilities, it appears that nursing aides are not performing acceptable oral care for their patients. Investigations addressing the motivation of nursing home staff have found that the main reasons nursing aides are not providing adequate oral hygiene care include lack of time, insufficient knowledge, lack of staff, inconsistent regulations and protocols, and uncooperative patients. The current study investigates the knowledge of and attitudes toward oral care and managing resistive behaviors reported by nursing aides employed at a LTC facility devoted to the care of residents with dementia in rural Maryland. The study design included volunteer subjects, an educational intervention and pre- and post-test measures generated from a self-administered questionnaire. Analyses utilized t-tests and ANOVA. The results of data analysis showed a significant improvement (p ≤ .05) in oral care knowledge, a statistically significant improvement (p ≤ .05) in attitude toward oral care, and a statistically significant improvement (p ≤ .05) in attitude toward managing resistance to oral care. These results indicate that an oral care intervention can improve the oral care knowledge, attitudes, and attitudes toward managing dementia patients who display resistance to oral hygiene services provided by nursing aides at a LTC facility in Maryland. Given the relationship between oral and systemic health, the nursing staff's role in providing comprehensive dental hygiene care to the residents of long term care facilities is critical.