Utilisation of dental services in a university hospital palliative and long-term care unit in Geneva
Article first published online: 31 MAR 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 The Gerodontology Association and Blackwell Munksgaard Ltd
Volume 25, Issue 2, pages 107–112, June 2008
How to Cite
Schimmel, M., Schoeni, P., Zulian, G. B. and Müller, F. (2008), Utilisation of dental services in a university hospital palliative and long-term care unit in Geneva. Gerodontology, 25: 107–112. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2007.00212.x
- Issue published online: 31 MAR 2008
- Article first published online: 31 MAR 2008
- Accepted 15 October 2007
- treatment demand;
- dental care;
- palliative care;
- long-term care
Objectives: Dental care plays an important role in the multidisciplinary approach, which is used in palliative and long-term care to address the complex needs of terminally ill patients. The aim of this study was to assess the utilisation of dental services in a University Hospital Palliative and Long-term Care Unit.
Material and method: Over an observation period of 13 months, structured questionnaires were filled in after each dental appointment. The survey covered three main topics: the initiation and incentive from the dental consultation, particular difficulties because of the patient’s health or the hospital’s organisation as well as the accomplished treatment.
Results: Two hundred and seventy-five questionnaires from a total of 102 patients were available for analysis. The patients’ median age was 83 years (SD 10.3, range 49–101 years), 63 were female, 39 male. A majority of first appointments were initiated by a physician (n = 49 of 102), mainly because of pain (n = 62 of 275). 10.5% of the appointments were cancelled on the same day. Only one-fifth of the patients were able to reach the practice on foot. Six used a walking stick and 54 relied on a wheelchair. Eighteen patients needed to be seen in their bed. The most frequently performed procedures were extractions and removal of denture sore spots (n = 67 of 275) followed by the manufacturing of new dentures (n = 38 of 275). In more than 17% of the appointments, no particular treatment was performed.
Conclusion: The utilisation of dental services in terminally ill and severely compromised elderly patients shown justifies a dental service in a palliative care or geriatric hospital setting. The particular dental work profile requires a practitioner with empathy and professional experience.