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Caregivers’ knowledge, attitudes, and oral health practices at long-term care facilities in KwaZulu-Natal

Sonam Balwanth
Shenuka Singh


Background: Vulnerable individuals residing at long-term care facilities require special oral health consideration. Examining concepts of  oral health and hygiene practices of caregivers becomes essential for understanding the quality of oral health services provided to  residents.

Aim: This study explored the oral health–related knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of caregivers.

Setting: Long-term  care facilities in the eThekwini District, KwaZulu-Natal.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at seven long-term care facilities  among 188 caregivers who completed a self-administered questionnaire. Data were collated and analysed using the Statistical Package  for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 24. Inferential techniques included an analysis of variance (ANOVA) test. A p-value ≤ 0.05 was  considered to be statistically significant. Results: Participants reported that dentures do not to be cleaned (n = 139; 73.9%). Participants (n  = 70; 37.2%) reported that some medications have oral side effects. Most participants (n = 173; 92%) were optimistic about improving  their oral health knowledge and skills. Participants (n = 108; 57.4%) only reported flossing when they had food trapped between their  teeth. Few participants (n = 30; 16%) reported visiting the dentist every 6 months.

Conclusion: Participants had a positive attitude to  improve their oral health-related knowledge and practices. However, the study showed that there is a need to scale-up oral health  education and training activities for caregivers.

Contribution: It is envisaged that findings of this study will demonstrate the importance  of oral health-related knowledge among caregivers in providing better oral health care through improved attitudes and practices.    

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848