Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Keaster, Ric

Author's Keywords

Elderly; Oral health; Long-term care facilities; Long-term care; Kentucky


Long-term care facilities--Patients; Older people--Dental care


Oral health is a critical component of every individual's general health and well-being. There is evidence that consistently demonstrates that age, poverty, education levels, minority status, and living in a rural area are risk factors for poorer oral status. In Kentucky, it is projected that there will continue to be an increase in the rural population and a decrease in the urban population; this projection is more pronounced for the aged 65 and over cohort. In 2005, a state-wide oral health survey (KEOHS) which assessed the oral health status and treatment needs of residents aged 65 and over was completed. The KEOHS gathered information on homebound residents, long-term care facility residents, and independently-living adults. To date, only data pertaining to the homebound residents have been analyzed. The focus of this study, therefore, was on data involving residents of long-term case facilities and assisted living facilities. Specifically, it will be determined if there is a relation between actual oral health and self-reported oral health as well as the nature of the relationship between oral health status and the type of community. The study group was comprised of a total of 912 individuals from 27 nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the state. Every elder who participated was given the questionnaire (or interviewed by the research team) and the clinical examination performed by a trained and calibrated dentist. The first study question concerned the agreement between an individual's self-reported oral health status (excellent, good, fair, or poor) and the examiner evaluation of that same individual's oral health status. Analyses revealed a significant correlation between an individual's self-reported oral status and the examiner-reported oral health status of the same individual. The second research question concerned the relation between the examiner-reported oral health status and place of residence prior to entering a nursing home. Analyses indicated that there was not a significant difference in oral health based upon place of residence prior to entering a nursing home. Further research is necessary to determine the change in oral health status of the individuals who were examined in 2005. If it were shown that individuals who had higher clinician-rated oral health status at admission maintained their oral health better than individuals with lower clinician-rated oral health status, there would be additional support for development of policy that mandated a minimal level of oral health at admission to a long-term care facility.