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A Qualitative Exploratory Study of Informal Carers’ Experiences of Identifying and Managing Oral Pain and Discomfort in Community-Dwelling Older People Living with Dementia

1
Department of Adult Nursing and Paramedic Science, Faculty of Education and Health, University of Greenwich, Avery Hill Campus, Southwood Site, London SE9 2UG, UK
2
Special Care Dentistry, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College Dental Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5 9RS, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geriatrics 2018, 3(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/geriatrics3030032
Received: 14 May 2018 / Revised: 11 June 2018 / Accepted: 16 June 2018 / Published: 21 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ageing, A Multidisciplinary Perspective)
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Abstract

Increased prevalence of dementia and poor oral health in older people is associated with more people living with dementia who experience oral pain and discomfort. However, little is known about how informal carers manage oral pain for people living with dementia in the community. This study aimed to explore informal carers’ experiences of identifying and managing oral pain and discomfort in people living with dementia, and barriers and enablers they encountered. Focus groups with informal carers of people living with dementia were conducted, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using thematic analysis. Carers’ accounts suggested that day-to-day contact was required to identify oral pain and discomfort, and a symptomology of the signs and symptoms was developed. Carers’ accounts also highlighted issues in maintaining oral health, difficulties in accessing the mouth, managing dentures, competing demands, and difficulties in accessing treatment due to health service-, behavioural- and treatment- related barriers. Enablers included informal carers’ pivotal role in the identifying and managing oral pain and discomfort in people living with dementia. The study concludes that carers want more partnership work with dental professionals, and clearer care pathways are required to meet the oral health needs of people living with dementia who experience oral pain. View Full-Text
Keywords: informal carers; oral pain and discomfort; identification; management; dementia; older people informal carers; oral pain and discomfort; identification; management; dementia; older people
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Newton, P.; Curl, C.; Prasad, R.; Pass, P.; Bowden, J. A Qualitative Exploratory Study of Informal Carers’ Experiences of Identifying and Managing Oral Pain and Discomfort in Community-Dwelling Older People Living with Dementia. Geriatrics 2018, 3, 32.

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