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Dental example: Taking account of the needs of different people

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Key question: responsive?

Making adjustments to services

The practice had made adjustments to services to enable people to receive treatment, including:

  • Appointment times:
    • arranging the best times for patients with a learning disability
    • complete flexibility for patients undergoing treatment for cancer
  • Information and communication:
    • access to interpretation and translation services
    • installing a hearing induction loop and asking how patients preferred to communicate if they had difficulty hearing
    • information in Braille
    • large print forms and a magnifying glass
  • Staff awareness:
    • training staff to be aware of dementia
  • Improving the environment:
    • installing handrails
    • eliminating shadows and dark areas by improving the colour of the décor (to help people with dementia).

Patients commented that these arrangements made a significant difference when receiving dental care.

Encouraging children to care for their teeth

During two half-term holidays in a school year, this practice did not book any routine adult dentistry treatment. Instead, the whole practice was committed to seeing children.

The practice provided check-ups and oral hygiene instructions to children, and gave these young patients a gift bag with colouring competitions, egg timers (for timing tooth brushing) and brushing charts to encourage good oral hygiene practice.

This is notable practice because of the commitment to promoting oral health, particularly in children.

Respecting cultural needs

The practice was located in an area of mixed ethnicity, with a high proportion of people of the Muslim faith. The practice made extra appointments available either side of Ramadan so that its Muslim patients would be able to access appointments without interrupting their fasting.

This is notable practice because it demonstrated an awareness of the needs of the local community.

Improving oral health and improving access to dental care

The practice demonstrated a long-standing commitment to improving people's access to dental care and improving oral health for people living in vulnerable circumstances. It had set up an outreach service that involved dentists from the practice visiting local hostels and rehabilitation centres to carry out oral hygiene instruction, screening, and treatments to reduce decay for the residents. Residents were told how to visit the provider’s practice to get regular dental treatment, and those who had dental pain were offered an appointment at the practice within 24 hours.

There was a practice team approach to improving the oral health of the local population. The provider had identified that the decay rate in the local population was high, which increased the risk of poor oral health for some people. The provider planned a number of initiatives to target children that would promote good oral health outcomes from an early stage. Staff from the practice visited nurseries and pre-schools to provide oral hygiene instruction and diet advice to children and arranged fun days in the adjacent park in school holidays.

This is notable practice because of the proactive approach to making dental care accessible and to improving dental health in the community.

Key line of enquiry (KLOE)

R2: Do services take account of the needs of different people, including those in vulnerable circumstances?

See all the key lines of enquiry in our handbook for dental providers.

Last updated:
30 November 2017