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26-10-2019 | Uitgave 2/2020 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 2/2020

Development of a tool to assess oral health-related quality of life in patients hospitalised in critical care

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 2/2020
Federico Moreno Sancho, Georgios Tsakos, David Brealey, David Boniface, Ian Needleman
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11136-019-02335-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.

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Aims and objectives

Oral health deteriorates following hospitalisation in critical care units (CCU) but there are no validated measures to assess effects on oral health-related quality of life (OHQoL). The objectives of this study were (i) to develop a tool (CCU-OHQoL) to assess OHQoL amongst patients admitted to CCU, (ii) to collect data to analyse the validity, reliability and acceptability of the CCU-OHQoL tool and (iii) to investigate patient-reported outcome measures of OHQoL in patients hospitalised in a CCU.


The project included three phases: (1) the development of an initial questionnaire informed by a literature review and expert panel, (2) testing of the tool in CCU (n = 18) followed by semi-structured interviews to assess acceptability, face and content validity and (3) final tool modification and testing of CCU-OHQoL questionnaire to assess validity and reliability.


The CCU-OHQoL showed good face and content validity and was quick to administer. Cronbach’s alpha was 0.72 suggesting good internal consistency. For construct validity, the CCU-OHQoL was strongly and significantly correlated (correlation coefficients 0.71, 0.62 and 0.77, p < 0.01) with global OHQoL items. In the validation study, 37.8% of the participants reported a deterioration in self-reported oral health after CCU admission. Finally, 26.9% and 31% of the participants reported considerable negative impacts of oral health in their life overall and quality of life, respectively.


The new CCU-OHQoL tool may be of use in the assessment of oral health-related quality of life in CCU patients. Deterioration of OHQoL seems to be common in CCU patients.

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