Learning disabilities support worker training programme improves oral hygiene


People with learning disabilities are more likely to have tooth decay, loose teeth, have gum disease, show higher levels of untreated disease and also have a larger number of extractions than those without disabilities, although evidence does exist to suggest that well-performed preventive procedures can prevent progression of dental disease and reduce tooth loss.

The researchers in this US study were interested in whether or not a training programme for support workers could improve their support in oral hygiene of the people they support The researchers used a quasi-experimental one-group pretest/posttest design with repeated measures.

They worked with a number of support staff who went through an educational programme. Firstly they demonstrated oral hygiene skills on each other and were scored whilst doing this by a trained observer. They also completed an oral hygiene compliance survey.

The researchers then carried out  a three month follow-up which included the demonstration of oral hygiene skills and a repeat of the compliance survey.

They used paired-sample t-tests to test oral hygiene knowledge. These tests compare the means of two variables and enable researchers to see if the average difference is significantly different from zero and so prove a statistically significant outcome. These tests did show a statistically significant improvement from pretest to posttest and from pretest to three-month posttest They found that oral hygiene skills and compliance had improved.

The authors conclude that their results show

evidence that caregiver education improves knowledge, skill, and compliance in oral hygiene.

Effectiveness of a Caregiver Education Program on Providing Oral Care to Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Fickert N & Ross D in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: June 2012, Vol. 50, No. 3, pp. 219-232.

Share on Facebook Tweet this on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google+
Mark as read
Create a personal elf note about this blog
Profile photo of John Northfield

John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

More posts

Follow me here –