Potential educational and workforce strategies to meet the oral health challenges of an increasingly older population: a qualitative study

Georgina M. Prosser, Chris Louca, David R. Radford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction: The demographic shift in the age profile of the UK is well established. Older people have more complex requirements to maintain their oral health.

Objectives: This research explored Gerodontology with influential and recognised UK experts in Dental Public Health, Dental Education and Gerodontology. Three main topics were explored: the dental challenges associated with the ageing population, the role of dental care professionals (DCPs) and the training of undergraduate dental professionals.

Methods: Quantitative data from the literature were used to develop a topic guide for semi-structured interviews with a purposeful sample of nine participants. Initial analysis of the qualitative data was undertaken using NVivo V12 software and themes were identified. Final themes and subthemes were confirmed after a series of remote round table discussions.

Results: Four themes and 14 subthemes were identified. These included disagreements and agreements, the challenges of providing dental care to the older adult population, and the delivery of dental care by the dental team and finally education. All participants had significant concerns about the oral and dental challenges of the older population.

Conclusions: The themes that emerged were complex and overlapping. Better utilisation of all members of the dental workforce was reported to be an essential approach, as was reorientation of existing care models with a focus on prevention. Regarding undergraduate education, the consensus was that the training was not adequate for both current and future needs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages9
JournalBDJ Open
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2022

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