Oral health care views among Finnish geriatric home care nurses. Knowledge, beliefs, perceptions and challenges.

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Markku Larmas -hall H1091, University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Dentistry, Aapistie 3

Topic of the dissertation

Oral health care views among Finnish geriatric home care nurses. Knowledge, beliefs, perceptions and challenges.

Doctoral candidate

Licentiate in dentistry Taru Aro

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Population Health

Subject of study

Dentistry

Opponent

Professor, Emeritus Heikki Murtomaa, University of Helsinki

Custos

Docent Anna-Maija Syrjälä, University of Oulu

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Geriatric home care nurses’ views on oral health care for the older people

In industrialized countries, life expectancy is increasing and people over 85 years are the fastest growing age group in Finland. In addition, the older people have more often their own natural teeth. In Finland, the aim is to support the older people to live in their own homes as long as possible and home care nurses ensure the well-being of the older people. Hence, geriatric home care nurses should have up-to-date knowledge also on oral care of the older people.

The aim of the thesis was to study the geriatric home nurses' knowledge, beliefs and views about the oral health of the older people, as well as their perceived challenges in the oral care of the older people. In the first part of the study, a questionnaire was used to investigate nurses' beliefs, knowledge and perceptions about the oral care for the older people. The second part of the study was carried out as a qualitative interview. The topics of the interviews were based on the themes that arose from the first study, considering oral care of the older people, oral care procedures carried out by nurses during their visits to older people, oral care education attained and nurses' own oral care habits. The third part of the study included an intervention and piloting of a questionnaire tailored for geriatric home care staff. With the questionnaire, the ability, knowledge and challenges of oral care of the older people were assessed. Nurses filled the questionnaire before and after the interactive training.

Nurses had a positive attitude towards oral health promotion. However, need for better self-efficacy was noticed. Nurses hoped more oral health care-related education and wished interactive training on oral care at their work. The questionnaire developed in the third part of the study was found to appropriately measure nurses’ self-efficacy, knowledge, and challenges in oral care of older people.

Geriatric home care nurses need support, encouraging and training in oral health care for the older people. Practical training combined with promoting the knowledge of oral health has been found to be effective.
Last updated: 10.11.2022