Purpose: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of providing outreach oral health care services on the oral health status and oral health-related quality of life to institutionalised elders in Hong Kong. Materials and Methods: At baseline, 232 Chinese adults aged 65 to 80 years living in 14 elderly homes participated in a free oral health examination and completed a validated Chinese version of general oral health assessment index (GOHAI) in a face-to-face interview. Afterwards, free dental treatments, including extractions, scaling and fillings, were offered to the subjects every year according to their needs. On the third year, the subjects were examined and interviewed again at least 6 months after the last treatment. Results: A total of 144 elders (62.1%) were examined and interviewed at the time of evaluation. Their oral health status had improved greatly compared with that found at baseline. They had fewer decayed teeth (1.3 versus 2.0, P < 0.001), and a lower proportion of the dentate subjects had periodontal pockets (60.9% versus 28.9%, P < 0.001). However, no significant change in their mean GOHAI score between baseline and the time of evaluation was detected. Despite this, a higher proportion of the elders were satisfied with their own oral health at the time of evaluation compared with baseline (66.2% versus 75.7%, P = 0.047). Conclusions: The provision of outreach oral health care services can lead to an improvement in both the assessed and the perceived oral health status of institutionalised elders.
Keywords: Chinese, dental care, elders, oral health-related quality of life