Ethics. Research. Community.

Dental services for adults with a learning disability: care managers' experiences and opinions.

Community dental health. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
OBJECTIVE: To investigate care managers' experiences in obtaining dental services for their clients. BASIC RESEARCH DESIGN: Descriptive survey collecting qualitative and quantitative data by semi-structured interviews. SETTING: Inner London boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. PARTICIPANTS: Care managers or their delegated representatives in all homes listed in June 1996 by the registration and inspection units of the boroughs' social services departments, under the Registered Homes Acts (1984; 1991). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Managers' experiences in obtaining dental services for their residents and their perception of their residents' current need for dental treatment. Perceived barriers to care. RESULTS: Managers perceived a current need for dental treatment in 14% of the residents. In 4 out of 80 homes (5%) none of the clients had seen a dentist during the preceding 12 months, but not because homes had been unable to obtain services. The most common reason given by managers was that clients were unwilling to accept care. Continuity of care and partnership between carers and dentists were seen as facilitating co-operation. Eighty five per cent of homes made some use of the Community Dental Services. CONCLUSIONS: Managers perceived that sufficient services were available in the area; the chief barrier to care was residents' reluctance to accept treatment. The Community Dental Service played an important role in the provision of dental services. Managers felt that the treatment of severely disabled patients required special skills and experience.
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