Abstract

Caregivers who work in community living arrangements or intermediate care facilities are responsible for the oral hygiene of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Oral hygiene training programs do not exist in many organizations, despite concerns about the oral care of this population. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a caregiver educational program. This study used a quasi-experimental one-group pretest/posttest design with repeated measures to describe the outcomes of an educational program. Program participants demonstrated oral hygiene skills on each other while being scored by a trained observer, after which they completed an oral hygiene compliance survey. After three months, a follow-up included the same posttest, demonstration of oral hygiene skills, and repeat of the compliance survey. Paired-sample t-tests of oral hygiene knowledge showed a statistically significant improvement from pretest to posttest and from pretest to three-month posttest. Oral hygiene skills and compliance improved. Results demonstrate evidence that caregiver education improves knowledge, skill, and compliance in oral hygiene. Further studies are required to demonstrate the value of providing oral hygiene education and training for caregivers of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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