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J Dent Hyg. 2014 Dec;88(6):353-63.

A qualitative analysis of oral health care needs in arkansas nursing facilities: the professional role of the dental hygienist.



Frail elders and nursing home residents are vulnerable to poor oral health and frequently lack access to dental care. The purpose of this study was to determine why residents in Arkansas skilled nursing facilities have limited access to oral health care.


This study utilized qualitative research methodology. Data was collected from oral health care personnel through open-ended responses in a written survey (n=23) and through telephone interviews (n=21). The investigators applied the constant comparative method to analyze and unitize the data and ultimately reach consensus.


Data analysis resulted in consensus on 2 emergent themes: policy and access.


This qualitative case study suggests access to oral health care for residents living in both long-term care (LTC) and assisted living I and II facilities in Arkansas is affected by public and facility policies and access to oral health care as a function of the patient's health status and availability of oral health care providers. Access for residents residing in assisted living I and II facilities is also limited by the residents' inability to assume responsibility for accessing oral health care. The outcomes from this study may serve to inform policymakers and advocates for access to oral health care as they develop new policies to address this growing need.


access to care; assisted living; dental hygiene; elderly; long term care; nursing home; older adult; oral health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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