Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Web Course To Help Improve Access To Care For Those With Disabilities

Date:
January 25, 1999
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
The program, titled "Oral Health Care for Persons with Disabilities," is one of only three in the United States. It is also the only one on the Web dedicated to familiarizing professionals with the issues and techniques involved in providing care to the estimated 49 million Americans who have some type of disabling condition.

By Connie Daughtry

GAINESVILLE, Fla.---Current research emphasizes oral health is a vital part of our overall well-being. But for many people with disabilities - either mental, physical or emotional - finding a dentist trained to care for them can be difficult.

Now the solution could be as close as a dentist's computer - used to access an online continuing education course "anytime, anywhere, at any pace," said course developer Dr. Paul Burtner, an associate professor of pediatric dentistry at the University of Florida's College of Dentistry.

The program, titled "Oral Health Care for Persons with Disabilities," is one of only three in the United States. It is also the only one on the Web dedicated to familiarizing professionals with the issues and techniques involved in providing care to the estimated 49 millionAmericans who have some type of disabling condition, such as spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, depression, visual impairment and arthritis.

"People with disabilities can experience barriers to achieving optimal oral health because many dentists have not received training in how to care for them," said Burtner. "Often such individuals or their families have to go on an extended search to locate a dentist who will providecare. Some are referred by general dentists to pediatric dentists; othersgive up and their oral health deteriorates."

While pediatric dentists are trained to treat children with emotional,behavioral, physical and mental handicaps, most do not routinely perform procedures that many disabled adults require, Burtner said. In addition, there is a national shortage of pediatric dentists.

In 1992, a provision was added to the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 that requires dentists to serve and accommodate people with disabilities. Dentists may refer patients with disabilities only if they would normally refer a nondisabled patient for the same treatment.

Designed to answer questions dental professionals might ask, the Web course describes how to position and protect the airway of people with spinal cord injuries (similar to those of actor Christopher Reeve), cerebral palsy or scoliosis. It also teaches professionals how to preventpatients from aspirating materials, fluid or instruments, and how to care for those who are unable to control their own oral secretions. Other topics include office accessibility and accommodations, treatment modifications and use of different restorative materials, druginteractions, psychological needs and communication considerations, such as large type on paperwork that visually impaired patients must read and sign.

The course also discusses how an unexpected touch to a blind or deafpatient's face or arm can be startling and can increase anxiety, and how dentists and assistants must communicate in some form with patients at all times to avoid such surprises.

"One option we have to increase the number of dental professionals with the necessary skills to treat people with disabilities is to train them while they are dental students," Burtner said.

In 1995, the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation began requiring all dental students to have clinical experience to complement instruction in the dental management of special needs patients.

The UF College of Dentistry's curriculum includes a three-hour class on disabilities and requires students to complete a rotation at Tacachale, astate-run facility in Gainesville for people with disabilities. Burtner and other UF dentists, who have specialized training, care for the dental needs of the facility's residents.

It was through word of mouth that Melinda Morrison of Gainesville found Dr. Clara Turner, an associate professor of pediatric dentistry at UF who also is a rotating dentist at Tacachale, to care for her son Nicholas. Nicholas, 11, has Down's syndrome and is hearing impaired.

"I know dental care is important for my son. I wasn't happy with how he was receiving dental care. His former dentist only saw patients with disabilities on the same day, which made it harder for me if I could not make the given day. I also was not allowed to go in the treatment roomwith him," said Morrison, who uses sign language to help dentists and hygienists communicate with Nicholas. "I had to find someone who could care for my child and be sensitive to his needs."

Dentists are also benefiting from the special training course.

"This online course provides an excellent guide for practitioners as they provide dental care for persons with disabilities," said Dr. F. ThomasMcIver, professor of pediatric dentistry at the University of North Carolina. "Completion of this course will significantly benefit both dentists and their patients."

The course is free to anyone wanting to learn more about treating the disabled. A fee is charged only for individuals wanting continuing education credit. The course can be found on the UF College ofDentistry's Web site located at http://www.dental.ufl.edu. Burtner canbe reached at Burtner@nerdc.ufl.edu

----------------------------------------

Recent UF Health Science Center news releases: http://www.vpha.health.ufl.edu/hscc/index.html

The UF Health Science Center topic/expert list: http://www.health.ufl.edu/hscc/experts.html


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "Web Course To Help Improve Access To Care For Those With Disabilities." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 January 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990122152525.htm>.
University Of Florida. (1999, January 25). Web Course To Help Improve Access To Care For Those With Disabilities. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990122152525.htm
University Of Florida. "Web Course To Help Improve Access To Care For Those With Disabilities." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990122152525.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins