Dental Care in Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly: Organizational Structures and Protocols
This study uses a national model of community-based long-term services and supports, the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), to identify organizational structures and protocols that can facilitate the delivery of dental examinations.
We developed an online survey instrument and conceptual model for this study representing 10 domains believed to characterize a quality PACE dental program.
Setting and Participants
The Qualtrics survey was distributed nationally to all 124 PACE programs in the 31 states PACE was available. Respondents in this study represented 35 programs (program response rate = 28.2%) in 23 states (state response rate = 74.2%).
Selected independent variables from each of the 10 domains were tested against the reported delivery of dental examinations variable using the Kendall τ and χ2. Twenty-nine programs were included in the final analysis.
Most programs mandated a dental examination within 31–60 days of enrollment (63.6%). Few programs had a dental manual (15.6%) or any quality assurance for dental care (32.3%). A majority of programs (58.8%) stated that they had a protocol for enrollees to receive a cleaning every 6–12 months. Having a system for quality assurance for dental care, protocol for a cleaning every 6–12 months, mandating a comprehensive dental examination and providing preventive dental services onsite with built-in equipment, were all statistically associated with a higher reported delivery of dental examinations.
Conclusion and Implications
Organizations providing long-term services and supports, including PACE, can use these identified domains to develop minimal standards to ensure dental care is part of innovative models of community-based long-term services and supports. Implementing these domains can facilitate effective delivery of dental examinations that have the potential to support positive oral health and general health outcomes.