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COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on dental geriatric care: students’ views

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Economics & Business, Healthcare Delivery & Policy, Social Impacts

The COVID-19 fatality rate has been estimated to be between 1% and 2%, but is believed to be much higher among older adults who are frail and with underlying health conditions; there are the most vulnerable. With the initial cases in BC coming from nursing homes, all dental geriatric rotations at UBC were cancelled before the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on March 11. With clinical rotations cancelled, but in order to engage students in learning, they were asked to critically reflect on the following question: "In your opinion, what factors do make outbreaks (or pandemics) like the COVID19 relevant to the practice of dental geriatrics?". This study is set to analyze thematically the content and depth of these reflections via coding and categorization.

Years 3 and 4 undergraduate dental students were asked to critically reflect, between 300 and 500 words. Self-reflections are highly encouraged so students can ponder about what and how they learn in a safe and non-judgmental manner. When students are encouraged to reflect about an experience, a lesson learned, a challenge they faced, or on the impact of an activity, this exercise enhances knowledge and facilitates personal and professional development, although it does no replace clinical care experience. Both class combined have about 120 students, which will give a considerable amount of textual data.