Caring for oral health in Australian residential care

27 May 2009

As the Australian population ages and more older Australians retain their natural teeth, more people living in residential aged care are developing complex oral disease and dental problems.

This report shows that carers play a crucial role in helping maintain the oral health of older adults in residential aged care, including the identification and referral needed for dental care, by investigating 21 aged care facilities in three states. Three aspects of best practice were pursued: assisting the development of policies and procedures; training carers to use an oral health assessment called the Oral Health Assessment Tool (OHAT) and then evaluating the reliability and validity of carers' use of the OHAT; and applying an evidence-based oral health protocol for carers of dependent older adults. The OHAT was evaluated as being a reliable and valid screening tool for use among residents, including those with cognitive impairments.


Jane M. Chalmers, A. John Spencer, Knute D. Carter, Peter L. King and Clive Wright.

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