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Keywords:

  • nursing homes;
  • access to care;
  • barriers;
  • elderly;
  • geriatrics

ABSTRACT

Using a stratified random sample, a questionnaire was mailed to 400 practicing dentists and 200 directors of nursing (DONs). Response rates were 58.3% for dentists and 50% for DONs. Dentists were representative of Iowa dentists, with 85% male, mean age 49.1 years, and 22.4 years in practice. All DONs were female, with mean age of 44.9 years. Of the participating dentists, 86% had provided dental care for nursing home residents, but the majority of care was completed in dental offices. Three-quarters of dentists were somewhat/not interested in nursing home dentistry. Dentists and DONs held common perceptions of the most frequent problems related to care provision at nursing homes: low financial reimbursement, especially for Medicaid patients; no portable dental equipment; no suitable area for dentistry; dentist's preference to treat patients at their dental practice; and transportation of residents to a dental practice. Dentists and DONs had some differing perceptions about oral health care (p < .01). Minimal dental care was provided on-site at Iowa nursing homes.