Oral healthcare service provision for dependent older adults is often poor. For dental services to provide more responsive and equitable care, evidence-based approaches are needed. To facilitate future research the development and application of a core outcome set would be beneficial. The aim of this study is to develop a core outcome set for oral health services research involving dependent older adults.
A multi-step process involving consensus methods and including key stakeholders will be undertaken. This will involve identifying potentially relevant outcomes through a systematic review of previous studies examining the effectiveness of strategies to prevent oral disease in dependent older adults, combined with semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders.
Stakeholders will include dependent older adults, family members, carers, care-home managers, health professionals, researchers, dental commissioners and policymakers. To condense and prioritise the long list of outcomes generated by the systematic review and semi-structured interviews, a Delphi survey consisting of several rounds with key stakeholders, as mentioned above, will be undertaken. The 9-point Likert scale proposed by the GRADE Working Group will facilitate this consensus process. Following the Delphi survey, a face-to-face consensus meeting with key stakeholders will be conducted where the
stakeholders will anonymously vote and decide on what outcomes should be included in the finalised core outcome set.
Developing a core set of outcomes that are clinically and patient centred will help improve the design, conduct and reporting of oral health services research involving dependent older adults, and ultimately strengthen the evidence base for high quality oral health care for dependent older adults.