e‐Oral health interventions for older patients in an outreach primary dental care centre: a pilot trial nested acceptability study

Kristina Wanyonyi, Courtney Couch, Jeyanthi John, Chris Louca

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Abstract

Objective: To compare the acceptability and perceived helpfulness of an e-Oral Health intervention in form of text messages versus standard dental leaflets provided after a dental visit to patients aged 65 years and over.

Background: Oral health care needs for older people are increasing. Remote interventions using e-Health can ensure oral care is provided despite physical hindrances or situations where dental appointments are limited such as has happened more widely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Materials and methods: Mixed-method nested study within a pilot trial. Dental patients (n = 150) at an outreach primary dental care centre, ≥ 65 years old, were recruited and randomly allocated to e-Oral health text messages or leaflet intervention arms. Post-intervention (6 months), participants responded to open and closed-ended two-way survey phone texts. Survey questions investigated: (a) whether they would recommend the intervention, (b) intervention helpfulness and (c) OPEN feedback. Average helpfulness scores (Scale:1= Very Helpful to 5= Not Helpful at All) were compared for each arm using Independent Sample t-test. Percentage of participants providing positive recommendations in each arm were compared using chi-squared tests. Qualitative findings were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: N = 68 (45%) responded. Mean helpfulness scores in text group M = 2.2, SD=1.1) and leaflet group M = 2.3, SD=1.9, P = .29. Amongst the text arm respondents, 89% compared with 68.2% in leaflet arm; P = .005 would recommend the intervention. Four qualitative themes were outlined: intervention approach, content, behavioural impact and recommendations.

Conclusion: e-Oral Health text interventions are acceptable and helpful to older people, but these messages need to be tailored.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGerodontology
Early online date20 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 20 May 2021

Keywords

  • dental access
  • e-health
  • inequalities
  • older people's oral health

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