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Objective: To describe the opinions from healthcare professionals on the comprehensive geriatric assessment for Thai dentists to provide oral health care in older adults and special needs patients.
Materials and Methods: A literature review was conducted to describe common medical conditions associated with older adults and appropriate assessment methods used by multidisciplinary healthcare professions. Expert opinions of multiple medical professions were collected by a focus group. Data were captured via audio/visual recordings, analyzed using content and thematic analysis, and reported.
Results: Time and other resources were mentioned as limitations for solving older adults’ health problems. Dentists as a part of the multidisciplinary team should be aware of the unique needs of older patients and familiarize themselves with geriatric conditions and assessment tools. Key factors such as patient profiles, dependency levels, social support, family history, comorbidities, and medications must be properly considered. Multidisciplinary collaboration is crucial to support healthcare professionals for holistic care. To facilitate the referral process, initial assessments should be conducted by targeted questions to differentiate patients’ problems and direct patients to the specialized care they need. Consideration of urgency and context-specific referral channels is important. Mental health can be assessed using simple questions, and specific tools or questions can be employed to evaluate dysphagia, malnutrition, and fall risk. Comprehensive cognitive assessments may not be essential, but an evaluation of decision-making capacity is important for dental professionals.
Conclusion: The findings provide key considerations for comprehensive assessment in older adults, and emphasize the importance of multidisciplinary team collaboration, context-specific referral channels, and essential tools in patient assessments.
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