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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exploring the views of relatives of frail elderly patients about the UBC geriatric dentistry program Ardenghi, Diego Macgadi


Elderly residents of long-term care facilities (LTC) have difficulty accessing dental services. Aiming to improve access for this population, the Geriatric Dental Program (GDP) was established by the UBC Faculty of Dentistry in 2002. Within the GDP, elderly LTC residents receive fee-for-service dental treatment. The objective of this research is to explore whether having access to the GDP services had an impact on the life of the patients’ relatives (family members). This research hopes to better understand how quality of health in relation to dental health extends to relatives who are responsible for the frail elderly patients who receive the dental care. Such understanding will contribute to our recognition of a more holistic and widespread impact of dental care access to all segments of our society. Methods: Data was collected through semi-structured, face-to-face, audio-recorded interviews with family members of elderly patients from the UBC-GDP. A purposive criterion sampling method was used to select the family members to participate in this study. The final number of participants was determined according to saturation procedures. Interview transcription and data coding procedures were conducted following Saldaña1. All interviews were transcribed verbatim. In a second step, NVivo software was used to code and organize the transcripts into different categories to develop themes. The analysis of the data followed a qualitative, interpretive Thematic Analysis. Results: Final analysis shows that family members are worried about their relatives’ oral health; they believe that it is difficult to find private dentists with geriatric expertise and to make appointments for their family members outside of UBC, and that the UBC program helped them in fulfilling this task. Moreover, the UBC-GDP made their life less stressful and relieved the burden of setting up appointments for their relatives making their life easier. Thus, the UBC GD program positively affected the life of relatives by improving access to dental care services for the growing geriatric segment of our Canadian society. Furthermore, this study shows that the UBC GD program not only improved the perceived oral health but also impacted the relatives’ life in a positive way.

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