The purpose of this study was to examine drug use and other factors associated with xerostomia in home care clients aged 75 years or older.
The study sample included 270 home care clients aged =75 years living in Eastern and Central Finland. The home care clients underwent in-home interviews carried out by trained home care nurses, nutritionists, dental hygienists and pharmacists. The collected data contained information on sociodemographic factors, health and oral health status, drug use, depressive symptoms (GDS-15), cognitive functioning (MMSE), functional ability (Barthel Index, IADL) and nutrition (MNA). The primary outcome was xerostomia status (never, occasionally or continuously).
Among the home care clients, 56% (n = 150) suffered from xerostomia. Persons with continuous xerostomia used more drugs and had more depressive symptoms and a higher number of comorbidities than other home care clients. In multivariate analyses, excessive polypharmacy (OR = 1.83, 95% Cl 1.08-3.10) and depressive symptoms (OR = 1.12, 95% Cl 1.03-1.22) were associated with xerostomia.
Xerostomia is a common problem among old home care clients. Excessive polypharmacy, use of particular drug groups and depressive symptoms were associated with xerostomia. The findings support the importance of a multidisciplinary approach in the care of older home care clients.