Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Oral care of palliative care patients – carers' and relatives' experiences. A qualitative study

Key Points

  • Draws attention to the poorly researched area of palliative oral care.

  • Identifies common themes, regarding oral care of palliative care patients, reported in blogs and discussion forums written by their relatives.

  • Provides insight into palliative oral care and how future research could be designed.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1


  1. Kinley J, Brennan S . Changing practice: use of audit to change oral care practice. Int J Palliat Nurs 2004; 10: 580–587.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Kvalheim S F, Strand G V, Husebo B S, Marthinussen M C . End-of-life palliative oral care in Norwegian health institutions. An exploratory study. Gerodontology 2016; 33: 522–529.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Milligan S, McGill M, Sweeney M P, Malarkey C . Oral care for people with advanced cancer: an evidence-based protocol. Int J Palliat Nurs 2001; 7: 418–426.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. NICE. Palliative care-oral, 2016. Available online at (accessed 25 April 2018).

  5. Saini R, Marawar P P, Shete S, Saini S, Mani A . Dental expression and role in palliative treatment. Indian J Palliat Care 2009; 15: 26–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Lee L, White V, Gill K et al. An audit of oral care practice and staff knowledge in hospital palliative care. Int J Palliat Nurs 2001; 7: 395–400.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Wiseman M A . Palliative care dentistry. Gerodontology 2000; 17: 49–51.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Chen X, Chen H, Douglas C, Preisser J S, Shuman S K . Dental treatment intensity in frail older adults in the last year of life. J Am Dent Assoc 2013; 144: 1234–1242.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. NHS Scotland. Scottish Palliative Care Guidelines. Mouth Care 2014. Available online at (accessed 25 April 2018).

  10. GSF. The Gold Standards Framework Proactive Identification Guidance (PIG). 6th ed. 2016. Available online at (accessed 25 April 2018).

  11. Marie Curie. Marie Curie Care and support through terminal illness 2016. Available online at (accessed 25 April 2018).

  12. WHO. The sold facts: Palliative Care 2004. Available online at (accessed 25 April 2018).

  13. WHO. Palliative Care: symptom management and end-of-life care 2004. Available online at (accessed 25 April 2018).

  14. Quinn B . Oral care for cancer and palliative patients. Br J Nurs 2013; 22: S14.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Rohr Y, Adams J, Young L . Oral discomfort in palliative care: results of an exploratory study of the experiences of terminally ill patients. Int J Palliat Nurs 2010; 16: 439–444.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Sargeant S, Chamley C . Oral health assessment and mouth care for children and young people receiving palliative care. Part two. Nurs Child Young People 2013; 25: 30–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Wiseman M A . The treatment of oral problems in the palliative patient. J Can Dent Assoc 2006; 72: 453–458.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Couch E, Mead J M, Walsh M . Oral health perceptions of paediatric palliative care nursing staff. Int J Palliat Nurs 2013; 19: 9–15.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Croyere N, Belloir M, Chantler L, McEwan L . Oral care in nursing practice: a pragmatic representation. Int J Palliat Nurs 2012; 18: 435–440.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. NICE. Oral health for adults in care homes 2016. Available online at (accessed 25 April 2018).

  21. Braun V, Clarke V . Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual Res Psychol 2006; 3: 77–101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Keim-Malpass J, Steeves R, Kennedy C . Internet ethnography: A review of methodological considerations for studying online illness blogs. Int J Nurs Stud 2014; 51: 1686–1692.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Braun V, Clarke V . Successful qualitative research, a practical guide for beginners. London: Sage, 2013.

  24. Jobbins J, Bagg J, Finlay I G, Addy M, Newcombe R G . Oral and dental disease in terminally ill cancer patients. BMJ 1992; 304: 1612.v

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Note: Maria Bernardes Delgado is an Academic Clinical Fellow, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to M. Bernardes Delgado.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Delgado, M., Burns, L., Quinn, C. et al. Oral care of palliative care patients – carers' and relatives' experiences. A qualitative study. Br Dent J 224, 881–886 (2018).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links