The attitudes of dental therapists, dental therapy educators and dental therapy students in the South of England towards domiciliary dentistry: a qualitative study

Robert Emanuel, Joshua Quach, Parul Patel, Robert Witton, Carolina Machuca-Vargas, Eleanor Taylor

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Abstract

Introduction: Dental therapists (DTs) are members of the dental team with a wide scope of practice, who support the provision of dental care to patient groups including those with vulnerabilities. One such group are older patients who are often unable to attend general dental practices to access their dental care. A domiciliary or ‘home visit' may be required to deliver this care in a non-clinical setting.

Aim: To identify how dental therapists and dental therapy educators working in Southern England perceive domiciliary dental services and to explore the possible role of dental therapists in providing domiciliary dentistry.

Method: A qualitative research design using a thematic approach.

Results: A total of five focus groups from the three professional groups were held representing a diverse community of therapists. A number of themes emerged including: knowledge of the domiciliary patient; barriers to the provision of domiciliary care; barriers to accessing domiciliary dentistry; overcoming barriers; and benefits of providing domiciliary care.

Conclusion: The concept of DTs providing domiciliary care was in general viewed positively. Several perceived barriers were reported including contractual, education and training issues. These barriers would need to be overcome to improve dental workforce skill-mix in delivery of domiciliary dental care.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Early online date25 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 25 Jan 2024

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