Iowa dentists’ involvement in care for patients who are homebound

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This study investigated the frequency of Iowa dentists’ provision of in-office and out-of-office dental care for people who are homebound, as well as comparing the practice and educational characteristics among dentists who did and did not provide care for patients who were homebound. The authors mailed a survey form to all licensed dentists on the Iowa State Health Professional license database (n = 1,168), excluding pediatric dentists and orthodontists. A second mailing was sent to all nonrespondents four months later, resulting in 638 returned forms for a 54.6% response rate. The questionnaire included two outcome responses associated with the treatment in the dentist's office or in the patient's home for patients who are homebound. About 40% of Iowa dentists reported providing care in the office to patients who are homebound, but care outside of the office was provided by fewer dentists (6%) who had more years of practice experience. These results suggest an increased sense of professional or community responsibility among these older Iowa dentists. Education efforts may increase homebound care and more involvement of younger dentists.

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