by Rodrigo Mariño, Clive Wright, Victor Minichiello, Margot Schofield and Hanny Calache
Issues addressed: Qualitative process evaluation of a community-based health promotion program conducted to improve the use of oral health services, oral health knowledge, attitudes, and practices of older Greek and Italian adults living in Melbourne, Australia.
Method: Fifteen focus groups were conducted with a sample of program participants (n=151) aged 55 and over, drawn from nine Italian and six Greek ethnic clubs. The focus groups sought participants’ views about all aspects of the oral health promotion program and delivery, including the use of educational seminars; the preparation of simple language printed material known as the ORHIS (Oral Health Information Seminars/Sheets); and the distribution and demonstration of oral care products relevant to each individual seminar.
Results: Participants expressed positive views about the program and delivery approach. Findings indicated the importance of communicating dental information through a culturally relevant approach using easily understandable printed material in the participants’ native languages; using the venue of their social clubs for health promotion efforts; and using an interactive and socially supportive approach that combined information giving, skills development and discussion in small groups over time.
Conclusions: This process evaluation indicated that the ORHIS approach was perceived by participants as appropriate in assisting them to raise awareness of oral health issues and improving oral health knowledge and behaviours. This approach was highly acceptable to and valued by these communities. Findings suggest that when migrant populations are afforded greater consideration and time to learn about oral health concerns in an accessible and culturally relevant manner, the results may be quite positive.
Key words: Process evaluation, focus groups, older adults, oral health, migrant populations.
Health Promotion Journal of Australia 2005;16:225-8
This approach (use of community clubs and ORHIS methodology) might assist others who are developing community-based health promotion programs for older adults.