Objectives: This study aimed to obtain a consensus on oral health policy, access to dental care, oral hygiene measures and training levels.
Background: Poor oral health is widespread in care-dependent older people, but no consensus for a minimum standard of oral health care exists yet.
Methods: The e-Delphi approach was applied to a selected panel of interdisciplinary experts. Data analysis was based on three measurements: (a) ≥70% of experts' opinion fall into category "agree or strongly agree," (b) median score on the 5-point Likert scale ≥4, (c) interquartile range ≤1.
Results: A total of 31 experts from 17 European countries participated in this survey. Agreement was achieved for a compulsory dental examination when an elder is admitted to a long-term care (LTC) facility. Older people should brush their teeth twice/day and regularly clean interproximal spaces and oral mucosa. Dentures should be rinsed after meals and cleaned twice/day. The use of denture cleansing tablets was considered necessary. Dentures should be removed before sleeping and stored dry. A 5000 ppm fluoride toothpaste should be applied daily in elder with high caries risk. A short report on the oral health status of the elder should be included in the geriatric assessment. All experts concluded that the knowledge and the training in oral health care for caregivers and family members of care-dependent older people were imperative.
Conclusions: Using the e-Delphi method, multidisciplinary healthcare professionals from different countries agreed on certain cardinal recommendations for a standard oral health care for care-dependent older people.
Keywords: care-dependent older adults; e-Delphi study; geriatric oral care; institutionalised older adults.