Quality of oral health services in residential care: towards an evaluation framework.

Research paper by Mutana M Pruksapong, Michael I MI MacEntee

Indexed on: 15 Nov '07Published on: 15 Nov '07Published in: Gerodontology


There is widespread neglect of oral healthcare, and uncertainty about how best to organise and evaluate the impact of oral health services in long-term care (LTC) facilities. Consequently, there is need for an evaluation framework to improve and account for the quality of oral healthcare in the facilities.This paper: (i) identifies basic concepts of quality of care and evaluation in healthcare; (ii) reviews the methods used to evaluate the operation and effectiveness of oral healthcare in LTC facilities and (iii) recommends change to assure oral health-related quality and accountability for frail elders.A literature review provided insights to the theoretical basis and practical applications for assessing the quality of healthcare relevant to oral healthcare for frail elders.Oral health-related programmes in LTC facilities could be improved by using a combination of quality assurance and health programme evaluation that: (i) engages everyone involved; (ii) seeks multiple attributes of quality; (iii) evaluates the structure, process or activities, and outcome of the oral health programme; (iv) uses formative and summative methods to provide both quantitative and qualitative evidence of care and (v) transfers new knowledge for appropriate consideration and action.This theoretical framework can be applied in dentistry in LTC to provide an assessment model specific to oral healthcare for frail elders in residential care.