OBJECTIVE:To assess children with cancer for oral complications using the oral assessment guide (OAG) and ascertain the efficacy of an oral hygiene care regimen in children undergoing chemotherapy and at 1 to 2 weeks postchemotherapy administration.
Thirty pediatric cancer patients with either leukemia or lymphoma were randomly selected from 3 medical centers. A quasi-experimental design was used to evaluate the difference between pre- and post-oral hygiene care. Descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were used to analyze the data. The interrater agreement between the nurse and the dentist was calculated using a Kappa score. A paired t test was to examine the difference between pre- and post-oral hygiene care regimen.
The OAG scores ranged from 8 to 24. The higher the score, the more severe the oral complications. Ninety-six percent of the participants had a score > or = 9, on the pre-test, 26.7% had an OAG score > or = 12. Oral complications included ulcerated mucous membranes, dry lips, deeper or raspy voice, and oral debris. No scores were > or = 12 on the OAG following the posttest. The oral hygiene care regimen significantly improved oral assessment among patients (P < .05).
The authors postulate that the OAG and oral hygiene care regimen may be clinically useful in improving oral assessment and hygiene in children with cancer during and after chemotherapy, thus decreasing associated infection and enhancing patient comfort.
Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing 21(1), pp.33-39