UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exploring residential care aide experiences with oral malodour in long-term care Dhami, Charanpreet


OBJECTIVE: Numerous studies to date have revealed that the oral health status of people living in long-term care (LTC) facilities is poor. As an elderly resident’s ability to perform personal oral care tasks declines, so does their oral health mainly in the form of periodontal disease and caries. Poor oral health also contributes to oral malodour (foul odour emanating from an individual’s breath), which negatively impacts an individual’s verbal interactions and social acceptability. There is evidence suggesting that the geriatric population is more prone to oral malodour. Studies done on oral malodour have looked at aspects such as sources, measurement techniques, management strategies and how malodour impacts the individual suffering from it. However, a deeper understanding of the impact of oral malodour on care givers has yet to be investigated. The following study investigated using an interpretive qualitative approach and a social constructivism interpretive framework the question: what experiences do residential care aides (RCAs) have with individuals living with oral malodour in a LTC facility? METHODS: The study was conducted through face-to-face interviews with RCAs, which were recorded and transcribed verbatim, observations of RCAs in their work environment, as well as RCA personal logs of their daily experiences with odour during caregiving. Thereafter, data was analyzed and coded for emerging themes. RESULTS: Five main themes emerged that described the experiences of RCAs working with residents with odour; challenges of care giving, knowledge of oral malodour management, attitudes and behaviours, attitude and job satisfaction, culture and odour. Collectively these factors affected the quality of interactions the RCA had with the resident. CONCLUSION: Oral malodour among residents was a difficult condition for most of the participants in this study to deal with, and appeared to impact both the quality and quantity of care they provided. Knowledge and understanding of the sources of oral malodour and how to manage it were found to be one of the factors that influenced the provision of care among the participants. Participant attitude, cultural beliefs and organizational beliefs influenced both the importance of oral malodour and how it was managed.

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Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada