Perceptions of caregivers regarding the importance of dental care for institutionalised seniors: a pilot study.

The journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

PubMedID: 12391831

Reznick S, Matear DW. Perceptions of caregivers regarding the importance of dental care for institutionalised seniors: a pilot study. J R Soc Promot Health. 2002;122(3):170-4.
The type of dental treatment that institutionalised elderly receive often depends on the decisions made by various stakeholders. These decisions may be based on a perceived need for treatment. This study was designed to investigate the perception of primary caregivers as to the relative importance of dental care for institutionalised seniors. Seniors who lived in a long-term care institution, with a dental facility available to them on a daily basis, volunteered information regarding their primary caregivers. A total of 25 primary caregivers participated in a structured telephone interview. All (100%) of the caregivers considered emergency dental services and treatment to relieve pain as essential/important services which should be available to institutionalised seniors. The following were most commonly ranked in the top three by the primary caregivers: emergency dental services (57%); dental services to relieve pain (48%); cleanings to prevent mouth disease (45%); check-ups including X-rays (45%); dentures to replace missing teeth (33%); and fillings (24%). The findings of this study suggest that more effort should be directed at investigating the perceived need of value of dental services for institutionalised seniors within the various stakeholders.