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Factors that influence dentists' decisions to treat patients in long-term care Chowdhry, Nita

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate what factors influence dentists in their decision to provide services in long-term care facilities within British Columbia. The secondary purpose was to determine if dentists practicing in rural areas of British Columbia are more willing to provide services in LTC compared to dentists in urban areas. Also, to assess if there were any changes in opinions of dentists (practicing in Metro-Vancouver) in providing services to patients in long-term care compared to a similar study from 1985. A questionnaire was developed to determine views and opinions of general dentists practicing in British Columbia with respect to the provision of services in long-term care. Eight hundred dentists from urban and rural areas of British Columbia were randomly selected to participate in this study. The British Columbia Dental Association mailed a package containing 3 questionnaires. The participants were to fill out one of the questionnaires based on whether they treated, never treated or stopped treating patients in long-term care. These questionnaires were faxed back to the British Columbia Dental Association. A reminder was sent out to the dentists 3 weeks after the initial mail-out. About thirty percent of those dentists surveyed responded with completed questionnaires for analysis. Dentists who treated patients in long-term care reported that it was a part of their professional responsibility to provide services. The lack of a dental operatory and lack of experience/training in geriatric dentistry were primary concerns of dentists who never provided services. Compared to 1985, dentists in 2008 showed increased awareness for a need for dental services by patients in long-term care facilities. Dentists in rural areas were more likely to be providing services to patients in long-term care facilities, compared to dentists in urban areas. Dentists who never provided services in long-term care facilities expressed interest in providing dental services.

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