262834 Dental Care in Homeless Veterans: Associations with Positive Outcomes in Housing Intervention Programs

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 4:30 PM - 4:55 PM

Elizabeth Nunez, DMD MST , Office of Dentistry, Veterans Administration, Tampa, FL
Gretchen Gibson, DDS, MPH , Veterans Healthcare System of the Ozarks, Department of Veteran Affairs, Fayetteville, AR
Judith A. Jones, DDS, MPH, DSc , General Dentistry, Boston University, Boston, MA
John A. Schinka, PhD , National Center on Homelessness among Veterans, Tampa, FL
This retrospective longitudinal cohort study examined the impact of dental care on outcomes for homeless veterans who were discharged from VA homeless intervention programs from Aug 1, 08 thru Sept 30, 2009. Primary outcomes of interest were intervention program completion, employment or stable financial status upon program discharge, and transition to housing. The dataset for final analysis consisted of the records of 9,870 veterans, 4,482 of whom received dental care and 5,388 who did not. The sample was predominantly non-Hispanic Caucasian (49.9%) and African-American (39.9%) and was comprised almost exclusively of unmarried (95.2%) males (95.6%) with a mean age of 50.19.5 years. Univariate analyses revealed highly significant differences in intervention program length of stay and all outcome measures. Veterans receiving dental care had a mean length of stay of 236.7154.8 days, while veterans not receiving care had a mean length of stay of only 176139.2 days. Veterans who received dental care had an approximate 30% increase in the probability of completing the program successfully (dental care, 62.9%; no dental care, 47.8%), a 14% increase in employment or stable financial status (dental care, 72.1%; no dental care, 63.1%), and a 15% increase in obtaining residential housing (dental care, 82.8%; no dental care, 72.0%). Logistic regression models were examined to provide more detailed analyses of pre-intervention factors that may serve as moderators or mediators of these outcomes. Overall, the results were supportive in showing that dental care had a substantial impact in improving outcomes in housing intervention programs for homeless veterans.

Learning Areas:
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the associations between provision of dental care and positive outcomes of a homeless intervention program.

Keywords: Homeless Health Care, Oral Health Outcomes

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I particpated in the conceptualization, planning, data interpretation, revision and final approval of the abstract.
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.