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Table 3 Studies addressing the impact of oral conditions among palliative patients

From: Oral health problems among palliative and terminally ill patients: an integrated systematic review

StudyFindings associating oral conditions and its social and/or functional impact
Fischer et al.Orofacial pain and salivary hypofunction had significant associations with social impact (p < 0.001) such as worrisome that affected the patients’ social interactions.Xerostomia (p < 0.001), orofacial pain (p < 0.001), salivary hypofunction (p < .001) and taste change (p = 0.042) had significant associations with functional impact, which was possibly related to food enjoyment.
Ezenwa et al.Xerostomia, orofacial pain and taste change had social impact of feeling worried, bothered, not wanting people around and a feeling of less satisfying life, with percentage agreement ranged from 41 to 64% between caregivers and care recipients. However, a significant difference in the means of the social impact subscale was reported between the two groups (p = 0.02), with caregivers overestimating social impact.Xerostomia, orofacial pain and taste change had functional impact which include swallowing difficulty, speaking difficulty, eating difficulty, food restriction, dryness and pain, with significant correlation between caregivers’ and care recipients’ ratings (p < 0.001)
Rydholm & StrangXerostomia was reported to have psychosocial effects, including shame, increased feelings of being a patient rather than a person and a tendency to avoid social contact, resulting in loneliness.Xerostomia was reported to be associated with loss of oral function, such as in articulation and swallowing.
Rohr et al.Orofacial pain prevent patient from sharing and enjoying meals with friends and family, which limit their social outings and participation at special occasions. Participants were more ‘tentative’ in holding a conversation with others due to speech difficulties, hence avoiding ‘close physical contact’ with their loved ones.Xerostomia was described as ‘constantly
there’, causing swallowing difficulties and loss of taste. Difficulty of swallowing was also described as ‘unbearable at times’.
Wilberg et al.Xerostomia and taste alterations were associated with anxiety (p = 0.04) and depression (p = 0.34)n/a
  1. *n/a not available