Objective: This study will compare the clinical outcomes of 139 elders residing in long-term care (LTC) who received dental treatment with those who did not receive care under a comprehensive dental programme over 5 years.
Background: Numerous studies have documented very poor oral health and limited access to dental care among frail older adults residing in LTC facilities. The University of British Columbia and Providence Healthcare developed a comprehensive dental programme to serve elderly LTC residents within seven Vancouver hospitals. Since 2002, the Geriatric Dentistry Programme has provided annual oral health assessments and access to comprehensive dental care.
Material and methods: A comprehensive oral health assessment was provided using CODE (an index of Clinical Oral Disorders in Elders). A change in oral health status (improvement or worsening) was evaluated by measuring CODE scores including caries and periodontal condition, and other aspects of the dentition.
Results: Eighty-three residents received dental treatment of some form over the 5 years, while 56 did not receive any treatment beyond an annual examination. The percentage of residents initially recommended for treatment in 2002 was 97%, which declined to 70-73% after the 3rd year. The percentage of residents treated increased after the first year and remained at 56-72% thereafter. The comparison between CODE scores from baseline and 5 years later showed an improvement for those receiving care (p = 0.02, chi(2) = 7.9, df = 2).
Conclusion: Within the limitations of this study, residents who did consent and receive care showed an improvement in their oral health status after 5 years.