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Dental care of elderly in nursing homes: perceptions of managers, nurses, and physicians



Dental care of elderly in nursing homes: perceptions of managers, nurses, and physicians



Special Care in Dentistry 20(1): 12-17



Epidemiologic studies have shown that the oral health of residents in nursing homes is poor. This can be due to their impaired ability to maintain appropriate oral hygiene or to a lack of interest in oral care among those responsible for the care. The purpose of this study was to assess the attitudes of managers, caregivers, and physicians with regard to oral health care issues of their residents. A questionnaire sent to the managers of the 65 nursing homes in Geneva was returned by 47 (69%). According to the managers, 85% of the nursing homes organized transportation for the residents to a dental office; dental care with follow-up treatment was organized in 79% of the facilities; 68% of the facilities organized treatment for dental emergencies. Another questionnaire was distributed to 169 caregivers in 13 nursing homes. A majority had received no education in oral hygiene care of the residents. The caregivers did accept responsibility for oral hygiene care, but preferred to share it with a dentist responsible for the oral health care of the residents. Only 33% of the physicians indicated that they carried out a systematic examination of the oral cavity, and 20% agreed that the oral cavity might be an integrated part of the body. The majority of the physicians were in favor of more information on oral diseases and regular visits by a dentist; however, close collaboration with a dentist on oral health issues had a low priority.

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PMID: 11203870


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