The purpose of this study was to examine the knowledge, beliefs, and practices of nursing assistants (NAs) providing oral hygiene care to frail elders in nursing homes, with the intent of developing an educational program for NAs. Methods: The study occurred in two economically and geographically diverse nursing homes. From a sample size of 202 NAs, 106 returned the 19-item Oral Care Survey. Results: The NAs reported satisfactory knowledge regarding the tasks associated with providing mouth care. The NAs believed that tooth loss was a natural consequence of aging. They reported that they provided mouth care less frequently than is optimal but cited challenges such as caring for persons exhibiting care-resistive behaviors, fear of causing pain, and lack of supplies. Conclusion: Nurses are in a powerful position to support NAs in providing mouth care by ensuring that they have adequate supplies and knowledge to respond to resistive behaviors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas