185340 Questionnaire survey of homeless patients regarding quality of life, access to care, and oral health behaviors

Monday, October 27, 2008

Niel Nathason, BA, MPH, MA , Community Health Programs, University of Southern California, School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CA
Hazem Seirawan, DDS, MPH, MS , School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Erica Kim , Letters, Arts, & Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Data regarding the attitudes, needs, and care provided to the homeless in dental clinics is very limited. This study consisted of administering a questionnaire with 40 questions, created from previously validated and conducted questionnaires based on access to care, quality of life, and oral health behaviors. The questionnaire was administered in spring/summer of 2007 at the USC-Union Rescue Mission Dental Clinic. Questionnaires were completed with 152 new patients at the USC-URM Clinic. Of the 152 respondents, 57 were surveyed a second time three to six months after their initial interview. 86.2% of the patients were unemployed at the time of initial treatment. 51.7% patients sought out dental care in the past year but could not get treatment at the time because they could not afford it. The majority of patients felt self conscious, embarrassed, and found it uncomfortable to eat foods due to problems with their teeth, mouth, or dentures. Of the 57 patients, 89.5% felt that their new smile/teeth made them more employable, socially acceptable/attractive (96.5%), and more likely to get an interview (84.2%). Homeless patients have less access to dental care. Although the majority deem the appearance of their teeth an integral part of their life, due to their limited access to dental care, many are left with unhealthy teeth and aesthetically displeasing smiles, negatively affecting them physically, socially, and emotionally. After receiving satisfying treatment at USC-URM, the majority of patients felt that they were more employable and their quality of life had improved.

Learning Objectives:
To better assess the co-related variables of access to dental care and the quality of life of homeless patients. To examine the oral health behaviors and satisfaction with treatment provided at the USC-Union Rescue Mission Dental Clinic.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Faculty at University of Southern California Dental School and Administrator for Clinic for the Homeless
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Oral Health Poster Session III
See more of: Oral Health