Oral Hygiene Routine of Functionally Dependent Elderly Individuals Performed by Home Caregivers
Introducion: The quick aging of the Brazilian population brings with it the index increase of chronic and incapacitating diseases in the geriatric public, being necessary the participation of caregivers in the home care. In this context, the caregiver is in charge of performing the oral hygiene activities of the functionally dependent elderly, and must be able to do so, because when improperly performed, it can compromise the local and general health of the assisted with worsening of the systemic condition.
Objective: The present study aimed to diagnose the oral hygiene routine of the functionally dependent elderly, executed by caregivers at home.
Method: This is a descriptive, exploratory and transversal study, with a quantitative approach. Conducted through half-structured interviews of twenty caregivers of functionally dependent elderly, in João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil. The instrument had questions about the oral hygiene, covering the care with the dental prosthesis, the use of instruments and materials, and it also approaches the difficulties that the caregivers face to execute the oral care. The elderly were taking part of an interdisciplinary home care program offered by the health insurance, without dental assistance.
Results: About the caregivers profile, 35% had the elementary school, 35% had the high school, 25% had higher level education and 5% were illiterate; 80% didn't receive any information about oral hygiene care of functionally dependent elderly; 55% were relatives and 45% were formal caregivers. About the oral hygiene of the elderly, 55% of the caregivers reported difficulties to execute this care. About the association of resources, the ordinary toothbrush and the toothpaste were the most used ones 35%; 20% used both resources associated with the mouthwash; 20% used mouthwash and other resources as well as lint, cotton, diapers and finger cots. None of the caregivers used the floss nor the tongue cleaner and 60% didn't remove the elderly prosthesis at night.
Conclusion: It is concluded that caregivers presented deficit of expertise about the most adequated oral hygiene routine to the functionally dependent elderly. In addition, the care was run from empirical knowledge and guidance of the family. From the above, the insertion of the dental surgeon in the interdisciplinary home care program is recommended, in order to monitor the oral health of the elderly and carry out educational activities to caregivers, aimed at improving the oral hygiene routine of functionally dependent elderly. It is believed that this study will contribute to avoid local and systemic complications, improving the quality of life of the elderly.
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