Perceptions of caregivers regarding the importance of dental care for institutionalised seniors: a pilot study

J R Soc Promot Health. 2002 Sep;122(3):170-4. doi: 10.1177/146642400212200313.


The type of dental treatment that institutionalised elderly receive often depends on the decisions made by various stakeholders. These decisions may be based on a perceived need for treatment. This study was designed to investigate the perception of primary caregivers as to the relative importance of dental care for institutionalised seniors. Seniors who lived in a long-term care institution, with a dental facility available to them on a daily basis, volunteered information regarding their primary caregivers. A total of 25 primary caregivers participated in a structured telephone interview. All (100%) of the caregivers considered emergency dental services and treatment to relieve pain as essential/important services which should be available to institutionalised seniors. The following were most commonly ranked in the top three by the primary caregivers: emergency dental services (57%); dental services to relieve pain (48%); cleanings to prevent mouth disease (45%); check-ups including X-rays (45%); dentures to replace missing teeth (33%); and fillings (24%). The findings of this study suggest that more effort should be directed at investigating the perceived need of value of dental services for institutionalised seniors within the various stakeholders.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Care for Aged*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Middle Aged