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Spec Care Dentist. 2010 May-Jun;30(3):85-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-4505.2010.00132.x.

Oral healthcare access and adequacy in alternative long-term care facilities.

Author information

1
Geriatric and Special Needs Populations, American Dental Association, Chicago, Illinois, USA. smithb@ada.org

Abstract

This study was undertaken to determine practices and perceived barriers to access related to oral health by surveying administrators in Michigan alternative long-term care facilities (ALTCF). A 24-item questionnaire was mailed to all 2,275 Michigan ALTCF serving residents aged 60+. Facility response rate was 22% (n = 508). Eleven percent of facilities had a written dental care plan; 18% stated a dentist examined new residents; and 19% of facilities had an agreement with a dentist to come to the facility, with 52% of those being for emergency care only. The greatest perceived barriers were willingness of general and specialty dentists to treat residents at the nursing facility and/or private offices as well as financial concerns. Substantial barriers to care were uniformly perceived. Oral health policies and practices within Michigan ALTCF vary, as measured by resources, attitudes, and the availability of professional care. There is limited involvement by dental professionals in creating policy and providing consultation and service.

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