A preparedness model for the provision of oral health care during unfolding threats: the case of the covid-19 pandemic Brondani, Mario; Donnelly, Leeann
Background: The aim of this study was to appraise a recently developed preparedness model for the provision of oral health care during a threat such as the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspectives of oral health care providers, administrators/staff, and patients. Methods: An exploratory qualitative inquiry via at-a-distance semi-structured interviews and group discussions engaged a purposefully selected sample of oral health care workers and patients in British Columbia (BC), Canada. Participants were asked to appraise a preparedness model by considering how to prepare for oral care during a pandemic, while answering open-ended questions about the model content and visual presentation. Interviews and group discussions occurred between April 2020 and January 2021, were audio recorded, and transcribed verbatim. An inductive coding process was used to identify themes, subthemes, and categories of information until saturation was achieved. Results: Seventy-four participants, including 19 dentists, 15 dental hygienists, 10 certified dental assistants, 9 administrators, and 21 patients, suggested modifications to the recently developed preparedness model. Individual interviews (41 participants) and group discussions (33 participants in groups ranging from 2 to 9 attendees each) lasted for an average of 53 min. Eighty-four hours of audio recordings led to more than 1110 single-spaced pages of transcripts. The thematic analysis identified 82 codes, 12 categories, and four main themes: life-long learning, critical thinking, personal and professional risk, and patient-centred care. These themes were understood within provider characteristics and social and environmental contexts. Participants highlighted the need for the model to focus on information and communication, developing awareness and understanding, inferring risks, and performing oral health care during a threat such as a pandemic or disease outbreak. A modified portrayal of the model was suggested to better represent participants’ perspectives. Conclusion: A recently developed preparedness model for the provision of dental care during an unfolding threat like the COVID-19 pandemic was appraised and modified by oral health care workers. Future studies are warranted to evaluate the modified model for use in the event of another unfolding threat collaboratively with providers, patients and stakeholders.
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