Irish Society for Disability & Oral Health - DHF Bursary 2007

The Dental Health Foundation Travel Bursary was presented at the Irish Society for Disability and Oral Health's Annual Conference which took place on Friday, 22nd June 2007 in Tullamore.

The 2007 winner was Ms Hannah Carry, her winning study was entitled " A Qualitative Phenomenological Study of the Level of Oral Hygiene Available to Children and Adolescents with an Intellectual Disability Living in Residential Settings - A Nursing Perspective".

The purpose of this study was to explore whether nurses have the necessary skills and knowledge in performing oral hygiene adequately in children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities.

"A Qualitative Phenomenological Study of the Level of Oral Hygiene Available to Children and Adolescents with an Intellectual Disability Living in Residential Settings - A Nursing Perspective"

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to explore whether nurses have the necessary skills and knowledge in performing oral hygiene adequately in children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities.

The two main oral diseases are dental caries and periodontal disease and neglecting oral hygiene in children and adolescents with intellectual disability can result in pain, loss of teeth and eating and communication problems. Neglect may also result in challenging and self injurious behaviour. In intellectual disability the nurse has been the main primary health care provider and key worker in person centred approach to care in maintaining oral hygiene as part of holistic care. The role of the nurse is an educational one in preventative management and care, yet oral care and nurse implementation received little attention in the literature from the intellectual disability perspective.

Research design will be a qualitative phenomenological study of registered nurses in intellectual disability (RNID) of more than two years experience and of fourth year student nurses (RNID). Data collection will be by means of in depth, semi structured interviews with participants, which will be audio taped. The sample group will be (n=7) RNID and (n=3) student nurses, working with children and adolescents within residential and day care settings. Non probability, purposive sampling will be used. Data analysis for this research proposal will use Colaizzi's (1978) six steps. The researcher will return to participants for confirmation of validity when data has been analysed. Time scale for the research will be maintained and completed within 59 weeks. Ethical approval will be sought before the study commences and ethical considerations will continue throughout each stage of the research which will protect the confidentiality of the participants, and the storage of data.

The research proposes to highlight recommendations that will identify staff training needs and enhance the nursing body of knowledge, as nurses can influence the process of professional caring and outcome.

Emily Hannah Carry, BSc Nursing (Intellectual Disability), University of Limerick