Title: 0483 - Homeless Adults: Dental Care Access Outside Capital Cities in Australia


Jacki Goode (Presenter)
University of Tasmania

Ha Hoang, University of Tasmania
Leonard Crocombe, University of Tasmania


In Australia, the oral health of adults experiencing homelessness is poor and they face multiple barriers to making dental visits. Having annual dental check-ups leads to improved oral health outcomes. Most programs designed to reduce barriers and enable dental visiting for homeless adults are capital-city based. There is a paucity of information about the barriers faced by non-capital-city based homeless adults. Programs facilitating dental visiting are designed in close collaboration with homelessness-support organisations. This study explored the perceptions of a non-capital-city based homelessness and housing support organisation’s staff towards the barriers and enablers of dental care existing for their clients.

A qualitative approach using a focus group method and qualitative content analysis was employed. The study was based in a regional city in Victoria, Australia. Barriers and enablers of care, identified in a systematic literature review, were discussed during three focus group meetings by staff from the city’s homelessness and housing support organisation. A topic guide was used, focus groups were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using qualitative content analysis. A narrative description of common themes was written.


Six themes relating to barriers emerged; the organisation of government-funded dental services, multiple competing needs, the cost of care, the fear of being judged, anxiety and managing appointments. Themes relating to perceived enablers of care were; outreach dental services, Priority Access Cards (PACs) and co-locating health services. Information about accessing dental services could be delivered by support staff at an appropriate time.

Barriers to dental care that exist in capital-cities also existed in a non-capital city area of Victoria, Australia. The organisation of government-funded dental services was a barrier to care. Outreach services allowing drop-in visits, PACs and collocated health services were perceived as being enablers of access to care.

Student Presenter

Disclosure Statement:
The submitter must disclose the names of the organizations with which any author have a relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the clinical or research area involved. The following is submitted: None