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Oral Health Knowledge Level of Nursing Staff Working in Semi-Intensive Heart Failure Units

Authors Cianetti S, Anderini P, Pagano S, Eusebi P, Orso M, Salvato R, Lombardo G

Received 26 July 2019

Accepted for publication 18 November 2019

Published 12 February 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 165—173


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Stefano Cianetti,1 Paola Anderini,1 Stefano Pagano,1 Paolo Eusebi,2 Massimiliano Orso,2 Rosario Salvato,3 Guido Lombardo1

1Surgical and Biomedical Sciences, Unit of Pediatric Dentistry, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy; 2Health Planning Service, Department of Epidemiology, Regional Health Authority of Umbria, Perugia, Italy; 3Department of Philosophy, Social and Human Sciences and Education, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy

Correspondence: Guido Lombardo
Dentistry School, University of Perugia, Piazza L. Severi 1, Perugia 06132, Italy
Tel +39 0755853514
Email [email protected]

Purpose: Critical care units, such as heart failure units, house inpatients with a compromised general health status that requires rigorous prevention of further complications. Oral health infections that gain access through the bloodstream or airway might represent such potential complications (eg, endocarditis pneumonia). Avoiding these critical occurrences requires that adequate oral health care be provided by nursing personnel. Here we assessed the knowledge of oral health care practices by nurses working in three Italian heart failure units in Umbria, Italy.
Design: This was a cross-sectional study.
Methods: Forty-four nurses were interviewed using a six-item modified Adams’ questionnaire on the topic of oral health care. A multidisciplinary panel of experts established the criteria for answer correctness based on the most relevant dentistry literature evidence and judged each reply. The expected percentage of correctly replying nurses was 75%, and significant differences from this expected probability were calculated with one-sided binomial probability tests. Cronbach’s α method was used to establish the questionnaire’s internal consistency (reliability).
Results: For five out of six questionnaire items, the percentage of nurses who correctly answered was significantly lower than the expected value of probability. Lack of knowledge was found for usefulness of checking the patients’ mouths (p=0.003), the most relevant lesions affecting the mouth (p=0.0001), the tools/solutions for cleaning the mouth and dentures (p= 0.0416), and drugs that affect the mouth and their side effects (p< 0.0001).
Conclusion: In this study, few nurses working in heart failure units showed both an adequate willingness to check inpatients and a good knowledge of oral health care (significantly lower than the expected 75%). Further studies that use validated questionnaires and include more participants should be conducted to confirm and elaborate on our preliminary data.

Keywords: nursing education, heart failure, oral health care

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