Palliative care is becoming increasingly important in Australia as the population ages, with nearly 58,000 palliative care in-patients reported in 2012. The focus of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems associated with life-threatening illnesses. One aspect that is important for palliative care patients is oral health. These patients are at risk of poor oral health due to various factors such as “drying” medications, fatigue, decreased mobility and ability to self-care. Unfortunately oral health is often neglected during palliative care in Australia.
The broad aim of this study, the first of its kind in Australia, is to develop, implement and evaluate an innovative palliative oral health (PALLIOH) program to improve the oral health and quality of life of palliative care patients in South Western Sydney.
Phase 1: Explore current perceptions, practices and knowledge regarding oral health among palliative care nurses and Dentists (needs assessment)
Phase 2: Explore current perceptions, practices and knowledge regarding oral health among palliative care patients and families/carers (needs assessment)
Phase 3: Develop education program for Palliative care providers and Dentists
Phase 4: Implement and evaluate the education program
Phase 5: Pilot test the PALLIOH program
Funding is gratefully acknowledged from:
• South Western Sydney Local Health District Innovation Committee
• Assoc Prof. Ajesh George – Western Sydney University, SWSLHD, University of Sydney, Ingham Institute
• Adjunct Assoc Prof Ravi Srinivas – SWSLHD Oral Health Services, Western Sydney University
• Prof Deborah Parker – University of Technology Sydney, Ingham Institute
• Prof Meera Agar – University of Technology Sydney, University of Sydney, Ingham Institute
• Dr Jennifer Wiltshire – SWSLHD
• Janeane Harlum – SWSLHD
• Amy Villarosa – Western Sydney University, SWSLHD, Ingham Institute