Preparing dental graduates to provide care for frail and care-dependent older patients: an educational intervention

Nilsson, A., Young, L., and Croker, F. (2021) Preparing dental graduates to provide care for frail and care-dependent older patients: an educational intervention. Focus on Health Professional Education, 22 (2). pp. 23-38.

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Introduction: Australia’s population is living longer and retaining more of their dentition. While the demand for oral health services in residential aged-care facilities increases, there is a call for further inclusion of gerodontology in the undergraduate dental curriculum. This qualitative study explored the attitude of dental students to providing oral health care to older people using a pilot gerodontology curriculum as an intervention during a final-year clinical placement in Hobart, Tasmania.

Methods: Focus groups with undergraduate dental students on clinical placement were conducted in 2018 prior to and after implementation of a pilot gerodontology curriculum. The qualitative data was thematically analysed.

Results: Two focus groups were conducted with a total of 18 dental students. The main themes included: applied practical learning in aged care, unpreparedness for managing frail older patients, lack of confidence with the process of gaining consent from people with dementia, barriers to providing care to older people and interactions with residents and staff of residential aged-care facilities.

Conclusions: This study highlighted the barriers for dental students providing care to older people. There is a need to evaluate how gerodontology is currently taught in the undergraduate dental curriculum to better prepare the dental workforce to respond effectively and more confidently to the growing population of dentate older people in residential aged-care facilities.

Item ID: 68871
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1442-1100
Keywords: gerodontology; aged care; oral health; dental; curriculum; education
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Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2021 04:18
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3203 Dentistry > 320312 Special needs dentistry @ 50%
39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390110 Medicine, nursing and health curriculum and pedagogy @ 50%
SEO Codes: 16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160102 Higher education @ 50%
20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200502 Health related to ageing @ 50%
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