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How health professionals perceive and experience treating people on social assistance: a qualitative study among dentists in Montreal, Canada.

Bedos C, Loignon C, Landry A, Allison PJ, Richard L - BMC Health Serv Res (2013)

Bottom Line: Despite great need for dental treatment, many are reluctant to consult dental professionals, arguing that dentists do not welcome or value poor patients.Three members of the research team interpreted the data displayed and wrote the results of this study.The current situation is unacceptable; we urge public health planners and governmental health agencies to ally themselves with the dental profession in order to implement concrete solutions.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of Oral Health and society, Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University, 3550, rue University, Montréal, Québec H3A 2A7, Canada. christophe.bedos@mcgill.ca.

ABSTRACT

Background: In Canada, the prevalence of oral diseases is very high among people on social assistance. Despite great need for dental treatment, many are reluctant to consult dental professionals, arguing that dentists do not welcome or value poor patients. The objective of this research was thus to better understand how dentists perceived and experienced treating people on social assistance.

Methods: This descriptive qualitative research was based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with 33 dentists practicing in Montreal, Canada. Generally organized in dentists' offices, the interviews lasted 60 to 120 minutes; they were digitally recorded and later transcribed verbatim. The interview transcripts were coded with NVivo software, and data was displayed in analytic matrices. Three members of the research team interpreted the data displayed and wrote the results of this study.

Results: Dentists express high levels of frustration with people on social assistance as a consequence of negative experiences that fall into 3 categories: 1) Organizational issues (people on social assistance ostensibly make the organization of appointments and scheduling difficult); 2) Biomedical issues (dentists feel unable to provide them with adequate treatment and fail to improve their oral health); 3) Financial issues (they are not lucrative patients). To explain their stance, dentists blame people on social assistance for neglecting themselves, and the health care system for not providing adequate coverage and fees. Despite dentists' willingness to treat all members of society, an accumulation of frustration leads to feelings of powerlessness and discouragement.

Conclusions: The current situation is unacceptable; we urge public health planners and governmental health agencies to ally themselves with the dental profession in order to implement concrete solutions.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Prism through which participating dentists perceive people on social assistance.
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Figure 1: Prism through which participating dentists perceive people on social assistance.

Mentions: Our study provides an in-depth and unique understanding of dentists’ perspective concerning patients on social assistance: 1) dentists seem to perceive patients through an interpretive filter that distinguishes three important dimensions: organizational, biomedical, and financial (Figure 1); 2) they repeatedly experience frustration and failure along all three dimensions when treating people on social assistance; 3) as a consequence, they tend to feel discouragement and powerlessness, which result in a reluctance to treat people on social assistance, despite their desire to treat all members of society; 4) dentists attribute the difficulties they encounter to the attitude and actions of people on social assistance, whom they perceive as neglecting themselves and disrespecting others, and the health care system, which arguably fails to provide adequate coverage and fees.


How health professionals perceive and experience treating people on social assistance: a qualitative study among dentists in Montreal, Canada.

Bedos C, Loignon C, Landry A, Allison PJ, Richard L - BMC Health Serv Res (2013)

Prism through which participating dentists perceive people on social assistance.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4228236&req=5

Figure 1: Prism through which participating dentists perceive people on social assistance.
Mentions: Our study provides an in-depth and unique understanding of dentists’ perspective concerning patients on social assistance: 1) dentists seem to perceive patients through an interpretive filter that distinguishes three important dimensions: organizational, biomedical, and financial (Figure 1); 2) they repeatedly experience frustration and failure along all three dimensions when treating people on social assistance; 3) as a consequence, they tend to feel discouragement and powerlessness, which result in a reluctance to treat people on social assistance, despite their desire to treat all members of society; 4) dentists attribute the difficulties they encounter to the attitude and actions of people on social assistance, whom they perceive as neglecting themselves and disrespecting others, and the health care system, which arguably fails to provide adequate coverage and fees.

Bottom Line: Despite great need for dental treatment, many are reluctant to consult dental professionals, arguing that dentists do not welcome or value poor patients.Three members of the research team interpreted the data displayed and wrote the results of this study.The current situation is unacceptable; we urge public health planners and governmental health agencies to ally themselves with the dental profession in order to implement concrete solutions.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of Oral Health and society, Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University, 3550, rue University, Montréal, Québec H3A 2A7, Canada. christophe.bedos@mcgill.ca.

ABSTRACT

Background: In Canada, the prevalence of oral diseases is very high among people on social assistance. Despite great need for dental treatment, many are reluctant to consult dental professionals, arguing that dentists do not welcome or value poor patients. The objective of this research was thus to better understand how dentists perceived and experienced treating people on social assistance.

Methods: This descriptive qualitative research was based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with 33 dentists practicing in Montreal, Canada. Generally organized in dentists' offices, the interviews lasted 60 to 120 minutes; they were digitally recorded and later transcribed verbatim. The interview transcripts were coded with NVivo software, and data was displayed in analytic matrices. Three members of the research team interpreted the data displayed and wrote the results of this study.

Results: Dentists express high levels of frustration with people on social assistance as a consequence of negative experiences that fall into 3 categories: 1) Organizational issues (people on social assistance ostensibly make the organization of appointments and scheduling difficult); 2) Biomedical issues (dentists feel unable to provide them with adequate treatment and fail to improve their oral health); 3) Financial issues (they are not lucrative patients). To explain their stance, dentists blame people on social assistance for neglecting themselves, and the health care system for not providing adequate coverage and fees. Despite dentists' willingness to treat all members of society, an accumulation of frustration leads to feelings of powerlessness and discouragement.

Conclusions: The current situation is unacceptable; we urge public health planners and governmental health agencies to ally themselves with the dental profession in order to implement concrete solutions.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus