249282 Preparing for the boom! Oral health literacy of health professionals in efforts to meet the oral health needs of older adults and aging “boomers”

Monday, October 31, 2011

Elaine T. Jurkowski, MSW, PhD , School of Social Work, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL
Charla J. Lautar, RDH, PhD , School of Allied Health, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL
Older adults are “aging in place” and remaining in their home community. Healthcare and oral health needs will be increasingly beaddressed as boomers age. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare three cohorts of a healthcare workforce's perceptions to health promotion activities to consumer perceptions. METHODS: A needs assessment was carried out to help formulate an area plan using 29 Likert-scale items. Respondents were older adults (n=252), social service providers or dental hygiene (DH) & social work (SW) students (n=112) working in the rural Midwest. An instrument utilizing a four (4) point Likert scale for specific service needs and a demographic section was used in the process. Screening items included oral health, diabetes, cholesterol, & blood pressure. RESULTS: Both cohorts of students were more likely to view oral health prevention as important when compared to current providers in the workforce (p<.05). DH students were more likely to see oral health and blood pressure screenings as being important as compared to SW students (p<.05). Advocacy was not perceived by DH students to be as important an activity as rated by providers and SW students (p<.05). CONCLUSIONS: Educational efforts need to target current providers to address oral and health screenings and to stress the role they play with one's overall health in geriatrics. Specific strategies for oral health literacy will be addressed as part of the curriculum's advocacy training for the preparation of the future oral health workforce, while continuing education stressing oral health prevention is critical for current providers.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
• To identify workforce development issues and the role of oral health prevention • To discuss perceptions of present and future providers in carrying out programs to address the needs of oral health screenings. • To explain to participants the importance of developing oral health screening and oral health promotion activities among older adults and aging “boomers”.

Keywords: One Health, Health Literacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conceptualized the work, carried out the work, and conducted the data analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.