General dentists’ attitudes and perceived barriers in providing domiciliary dental care to older adults in long-term care facilities or their homes in Northern Ireland: A descriptive qualitative study

Emma Kerr, Sinead Watson, Julie McMullan, Murali Srinivasan, Gerald J. McKenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective:
Many older patients, housebound or living in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) have limited access to dental care. This descriptive qualitative study aimed to understand general dental practitioners (GDPs) attitudes and perceived barriers to undertaking Domiciliary Dental Care (DDC) for those patients in Northern Ireland (NI).

Methods:
Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 12 GDPs in Northern Ireland. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. An iterative coding process using theme-analytic methods was used.

Results:
The data were characterised into four major themes—risk of professional litigation, remuneration for those undertaking DDC, complexity of treatment, and the overall framework of the dental care system in NI. Two minor themes identified were practice culture and reasons for undertaking DDC. The GDPs in the study identified a number of barriers to undertaking DDC including a legal requirement to transport oxygen, lack of organisation and limited oral hygiene care provision in LTCFs, and confusion around their responsibilities for provision of DDC. Those GDPs who were providing DDC indicated that they did so out of kindness and a sense of loyalty to their long-standing patients.

Conclusion:
The GDPs in this study identified a number of significant barriers to provision of DDC at organisational, structural and clinical levels. The GDPs indicated that they required clarification of their responsibilities around DDC with clear guidelines necessary given the increase in demand for this service.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGerodontology
Early online date08 Jun 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 08 Jun 2021

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