Shuman authors publication for Gerontological Society of America
The Gerontological Society of America has released a toolkit and publication on COVID-19 and oral health care for older adults featuring expertise from Stephen Shuman, DDS, MS, professor and director of the oral health services for older adults program in the department of developmental and surgical sciences and dental faculty for the University of Minnesota’s HRSA-funded Minnesota Northstar Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program.
The publication, “Pandemic-Driven Disruptions in Oral Health: 10 Transformative Trends in Care for Older Adults,” is the result of two webinars focused on the topic and held by the Society in October 2020.
Shuman co-authored the publication in his capacity as chair of the Gerontological Society of America’s “Oral Health: An Essential Element of Healthy Aging” Workgroup.
“During many years of dealing with oral health barriers for older adults, it always seemed to me that oral health wound up somewhere near the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in long-term care,” Shuman is quoted in a press release from the Gerontological Society of America. “When COVID-19 was added to the bottom of the pyramid, it bounced oral health completely off the top. And that’s what moved the GSA Oral Health workgroup to plan these webinars.”
The Gerontological Society of America compiled the most impactful lessons and key takeaways from the two webinars to produce the ten-pronged toolkit and publication.
“During 2020, the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disrupted life in all parts of society and around the world,” the publication begins. “Nowhere was that disruption as severe as in long-term care facilities.”
However, the piece notes that “from this disruption comes the opportunity for positive long-term changes.” The authors review ten such disruptions and how the COVID-19 pandemic can alter the future of oral health care for older adults.
Shuman and his co-authors share the pandemic’s impact on the oral health workforce, nursing home care, managing chronic oral health problems, the need for interprofessional care, and more.