The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceived comfort, behaviors, and barriers reported by group home caregivers while providing oral health care to individuals with special healthcare needs (SHCN). A 23-item survey was sent to 428 caregivers in two group homes in Iowa. Bivariate and logistic regression models were used to analyze data (p ≤ 0.05). The overall response rate was 32%. An analysis of the bivariate and multivariate logistic regression indicated that caregivers who felt more comfortable providing care for individuals who verbally and physically resisted oral health care had worked more than 2 years at their current location (p = 0.0323), felt "neutral to very comfortable" brushing (p = 0.0020) and flossing (p < 0.0001) the teeth of individuals with SHCN, and reported "sometimes to always" experiencing these individuals not opening their mouths (p = 0.0127). Comfort in providing oral care to individuals with SHCN appears to be linked to experience and length of time working with this population.
© 2012 Special Care Dentistry Association and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.