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Oral-care adherence. Service design for nursing homes – initial caregiver reactions and socio-economic analysis

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  • Stefan Wagner
  • Ingrid Rosian-Schikuta, Gesundheit Österreich GmbH
  • ,
  • Jorge Cabral, University of Minho

Background: Lack of proper oral care among elderly people in nursing homes is associated with increased morbidity and hospitalisation. The ability of the individual to maintain sufficient oral self-care is difficult for caregivers to assess, and thus, caregivers often risk providing sub-optimal oral care. Sensor-based tools exist that can support the caregiv-ing staff in achieving a better understanding of who among the elderly are able to perform proper self-care, and who cannot and thus need additional assistance from caregivers. How such systems should be designed and deployed in nursing homes, and how they will be perceived by caregivers has not been investigated sufficiently yet. Objectives: The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of how caregiving staff perceives the introduction of sensor-based systems that allow the caregivers to automatically discover who among the elderly residents are able to adhere to the given recommendation on daily oral self-care, and who among them are in need of further assistance, as well as whether there is potential for saving costs. Methods: In a mixed methods qualitative study, we visited three nursing homes where we had recently deployed, or were about to deploy, elec-trical toothbrushes and a basic oral-care adherence aid system. Nursing home staff was interviewed during the field studies about their initial reactions to introducing such a system as part of their daily workflow. The field study was supported by a literature review. Results: Caregiving staff welcomed the introduction of a sensor-based oral-care adherence aid system, which would identify any elderly who could no longer achieve a sufficient level of oral self-care. Improving oral care for the elderly may not only prevent serious con-sequential diseases, but also generate considerable savings with a re-turn on investment of at least 1:2.5. Conclusion: Sensor-based oral-care adherence aid systems that monitor oral-care adherence, meaning the ability of the individual elderly to properly perform teeth and/or denture brushing as part of normal self-care efforts, appear useful and relevant to introduce. More work is needed to provide a better understanding of the long-term user experi-ence of both caregiving staff and elderly. There is also a need for more high-quality long-term clinical studies of further preventive effects of oral hygiene measures and their economic benefit.

Translated title of the contributionMundhygiene-Adherence. Sensorbasierte Systeme für Pflegeheime – erste Erfahrungen aus Sicht des Pflegepersonals und ökonomische Implikationen
Original languageEnglish
Article numberDoc04
JournalGMS German Medical Science
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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