The involvement of Iowa dentists in hospice care

Monica M Wilwert, Catherine A Watkins, Ronald L Ettinger, Howard J Cowen, Fang Qian
Special Care in Dentistry 2011, 31 (6): 204-9
The relationships between dentist characteristics and professional education with involvement of Iowa dentists in hospice care were investigated. Using the 1999 Iowa Health Professional database, a survey requesting information regarding involvement in and training for care of hospice patients was mailed to all licensed dentists (N = 1,210). Two mailings yielded a 54.6% response rate. Of the 638 dentist respondents, the mean age was 47, 86% were male, 88% general dentists, and 295 (46%) reported providing some treatment for hospice patients. At least one dentist reported providing hospice patient care in 72 of Iowa's 99 counties. About 90% of dentists treating hospice patients were general practitioners. Males were more likely to provide treatment (p < 0.0313). Neither dentist age nor years in practice were significant predictors. Dentists were more likely to treat hospice patients in the office (IO, 40%). The most prevalent treatments were denture relines (31% IO; 71% OO), examinations (16% IO; 68% OO), and emergency treatment (12.5% IO; 53% OO). More than 86% of surveyed dentists indicated that their professional education did not adequately train them to meet the clinical, psychosocial, communication, or spiritual needs of hospice patients.

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