Georgios Efstathiou , Evridiki Papastavrou , Melanie Charalambous , Persefoni Lambrou-Christodoulou , Iraklis Irakleous , Anastasios Merkouris
Introduction: Oral health is considered essential for individuals’ well-being. Poor oral health has a negative impact on overall human health while contributing and predisposing to other diseases. It has been documented that nurses delay or omit oral care of hospitalized patients resulting in increased risk and vulnerability to adverse events.
Aim: To gain an in-depth understanding on how nurses perceive oral care and their views on how the phenomenon of missed oral care can be prevented.
Methods: Four focus groups were organized (n=30) to explore the issue under study. Nurses working in medical and surgical departments in 3 acute care hospitals participated in June 2019. The discussions were coordinated by an independent moderator, using a semi structured interview guide. Data were analyzed through a thematic analysis.
Findings: The findings confirm that oral care of hospitalized patients is often omitted and is not acknowledged as an important patient need. The barriers and facilitators that affect oral care positively or negatively were divided into themes that include patient characteristics, nurses’ knowledge, and skills, and as well as the nurse work environment.
Conclusions: Since barriers and facilitators exist, it recommended that nurses could focus on those aspects that will improve oral health care since it contributes to the enhancement of patient satisfaction and wellbeing.
Keywords: missed nursing care, perceptions, nursing practice, nursing knowledge, oral care, hospitalized patients