The aims of the study were twofold: to explore African migrant carers' perceptions of oral health who worked in residential aged care and to investigate their perspectives of oral care for aged care residents.
Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) carers are strongly represented in Australian residential aged care facilities.
Exploratory qualitative research targeted carers from African backgrounds working in residential aged care facilities in Perth, Western Australia. Fifteen African carers were recruited through community networks and participated in semistructured interviews. Data were analysed for key themes related to the study's aims noting similarities and differences between participants.
All participants considered oral health important to individual well-being and quality of life. Most had limited knowledge of prevention and early detection of oral disease resulting from regular dental check-ups with the majority visiting dental professionals only for dental pain. Yet participants considered oral health care for residents needed improvement. Suggestions included dental professionals on staff and training and professional development for all staff not just in oral health care but also in working respectfully and sensitively with residents and staff from CALD backgrounds.
Our findings suggest that, to ensure residents receive high quality oral health care, ongoing professional development is required, not only for CALD carers in oral health but also for non-CALD staff in care that is respectful of cultural differences.