Study: Resident dental care needs brush up

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Residents should see a dentist more often. That's one conclusion that can be drawn from a study of nursing home executive directors from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine.

Half of directors responding to the survey in Ohio rated the oral health of their residents as poor or fair. Still, more than 60% reported they were satisfied with the care their residents received.

Other findings: Approximately 88% of the facilities have a staff dentist that residents visit from a weekly to less than bi-monthly basis. Most patients have dental visits off-site since only 10% of the facilities have on-site dental equipment. Also, daily dental care is usually assigned to nursing assistants, with the executive directors stating that they felt these individuals have enough time in their schedules to provide oral care.

A total of 1,1018 nursing home directors received the 30-item survey. Findings from 338 responses are reported in the article, "Nursing Home Executive Director's Perceptions of Oral Care in Long-Term Facilities" in the journal Special Care Dentistry.