OBJECTIVE: To evaluate how caregivers feel about the use of electric vs. manual toothbrushes for the elderly in long-term care. MATERIALS AND METHODS: After electric toothbrushes had been accessible in an institution for 15 months, a self-administered questionnaire was distributed to the nursing staff. The questions posed were whether the electric toothbrushes were being used, how much time was spent on brushing and if electric toothbrushes simplified the provision of oral care for the residents. RESULTS: The response rate was 79%. Of the 119 respondents, 78% replied that they always or frequently used an electric toothbrush. With regard to brushing times, 44% of the respondents reported that they spent less time on oral care procedures with an electric toothbrush than with a manual one. Equal amount of time for both types of toothbrushes was reported by 53%. Only 3% reported spending more time with an electric toothbrush than with a manual one. Oral care procedures were co nsidered simpler with this device by 63% of the respondents, 22% registered no change and 15% found it more difficult. If patients suffering from dementia were considered separately, 45% found the procedures simpler when using electric toothbrushes, 24% registered no difference and 31% found it more difficult. CONCLUSION: The findings indicate that when given the choice, the caregivers prefer to use electric toothbrushes rather than manual ones as they feel this is simpler and often less time-consuming.
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