Dental hygienists as providers in long-term care facilities

Spec Care Dentist. Jan-Feb 2005;25(1):19-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-4505.2005.tb00368.x.


The authors surveyed all practicing dental hygienists (n = 870, response rate = 69%) in Kansas about providing preventive dental care to elderly residents of long-term care (LTC) facilities. Maximum likelihood estimates stepwise logistic regressions were used to predict the likelihood of dental hygienists filling the need for a specialty workforce. Few respondents wanted to work exclusively with elderly patients. Lack of interest in LTC practice was related to the number of children living at home or discomfort with patients who had limited abilities to communicate. Interest in part-time geriatric practice was related to motivation to help older patients and unhappiness with current role limitations. Implications for reimbursement and educational offerings are discussed. While dental hygienists could fill a need in preventive oral health for elderly patients, it remains to be seen if subsequent policy changes result in that outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Career Choice
  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication
  • Dental Care for Aged*
  • Dental Hygienists* / education
  • Dental Hygienists* / psychology
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Kansas
  • Long-Term Care*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms
  • Workforce