Funded Projects

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2010 Funded Projects
CFDHRE Peer Reviewed Grant
Project Title: ElderSMILES (Strengthening Mouthcare in Long-Term Eldercare Settings)

Lead Principal Applicant
Name: Dr. Sharon M Compton
Title: Professor and Director, Dental Hygiene Program and Associate Chair (Dental Hygiene) Organization: Department of Dentistry, University of Alberta Address: 3rd Floor Clinical Sciences Building, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2G3

Co- Principal Applicant:
Sandra J. Cobban, RDH, PhD CandidateTitle: Associate Professor
Host Institution/Organization: Dental Hygiene Program, University of Alberta
Address: 2032 Dentistry-Pharmacy Centre, Dental Hygiene Program, Dept. Of Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2N8


There is a need for improved oral health (OH) care for residents of long-term care (LTC) facilities. Residents often lack the dexterity necessary to perform mouthcare, and LTC staff often lack the time and/or training to do it for them. There is a need to establish effective protocols to make it easier to implement appropriate mouthcare in LTC facilities, and to standardize indices so that meaningful comparisons can be made.

The proposed research is designed as a pilot study to test the feasibility of protocols to gather and assess OH data for residents of LTC facilities. It will involve regular visits to two of these facilities by dental hygiene (DH) students, who will determine if protocols can be delivered and implemented as planned. The students will also educate staff—particularly health-care aides (HCAs) and residents about the role and importance of daily mouthcare. The focus will be on processes such as ease of collecting OH indicators, the ability to incorporate mouthcare into daily schedules, and the identification of any barriers that may impede OH care. An assessment of brushing ability will also be completed by the students, to help determine the best approach for each person.

Recognizing that the elderly are a growing segment of the population, an important element of this study will be the socialization of DH students into an LTC environment, which may influence them to work in this field after graduation. Based on the outcomes of this study, the next step is to apply these protocols to a cluster randomized controlled trial to determine if DH student interventions improve the OH status for residents in LTC facilities.