Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dental Health Forum

Community Dental Health Program

Health Care Consumers’ Association (HCCA) hosted a Dental Forum at the HCCA offices in Hackett on 7 June.
Karen Jameson, Karen Macdoanld,
Sanja Fokus and Suzanne Eastwood
at the HCCA Dental Forum.

Sanja Fokas (Regional Manager) and Karen Macdonald (IT Manager) from the Division of Surgery and Oral Health Community Dental Health Program, ACT Health, engaged with consumers for a workshop.  The session was faciliattied by HCCA staff member

Karen gave a detailed presentation about the services provided under the Dental Health Program and Sanja spoke about the achievements and successes of the Program.  The presentations were well received and provided a useful overview of the dental services available and how to access them.

The workshop sessions which followed, gave consumers the opportunity to talk about their own experiences and give feedback about the services, providing Sanja and Karen with valuable information and ideas about how to improve dental services and also to make them aware of any shortcomings within the system.

Attendees were asked to comment specifically on the following questions:
1. Is it easy to find information about the Dental Health Program, including contact details?
2. Are you aware of the services that are available at the Dental Health Program?
3. If you have attended the Dental Health Program were you satisfied with the service received?
Health Directorate Staff presenting
at the HCCA Dental Forum

The questions highlighted a number of concerns:

Consumers felt the Dental Health Program needed to be far more widely publicised.  Many people said they were unaware of the services provided under the Dental Program and did not know how to access them.  They were also unclear about waiting times and eligibility.  Consumers felt the Dental Program needed to be far more widely publicised.  They suggested displaying posters in waiting rooms in GP surgeries, hospitals and allied health services; publicising the Program through the school system by providing information to teachers who could pass this on to parents; liaison with disability support agencies, CIT, community housing and St Vincent de Paul; publicising the services via Facebook.

Preventative Care
Consumers were keen that the Program should focus strongly on preventative treatment.  It was important to make consumers aware of dental hygiene and that thorough teeth cleaning formed part of every routine dental check. Sanja said there were currently two hygienists in the Civic Clinic and hygienists would also be on the staff at the new Belconnen Clinic.  She said ACT Health were keen to emulate the Canadian model of preventative dental care, which was the best in the world.

Including dental hygiene and care on the pre-school curriculum was suggested as a means of teaching children how to look after their teeth and gums, which was likely to reduce oral health problems in adult life.

Aged Care Facilities
Concerns were raised about the lack of dental care in aged care facilities.  COTA had been lobbying for a mobile clinic and Sanja said ACT Health was investing in a mobile unit, which would make regular visits to nursing homes.

Priority for the poor and homeless
Consumers felt it was important that priority be given to the poor and homeless community.  The Salvation Army referred clients to the Dental Program – last year 51 clients were referred by the Salvos.  Consumers felt communication with similar organisations would be very beneficial.

Record-keeping and contact with clients
Concerns were raised about how the Dental Program monitored its waiting lists, client contact details and appointment times.

It was felt that it was important that the Dental Program should be fully integrated within ACTPAS (the ACT Health, Patient Administration System).

Sanja Fokas and Karen Macdonald welcomed the opportunity to talk to consumers and undertook to use their feedback to help to improve the Community Dental Health Program in the ACT.

Copies of the presentations will be sent to those attending the workshop.

HCCA and the Community Dental Health Program look forward to hosting another Dental Forum in the next six months to talk about developments in the Program and discuss lessons learned from this session.


johana mariz said...

I think dental awareness programs should be done more frequent as people are somehow not well informed on how this works. Local health offices should find more ways to reach people so they would how to maximize their benefits from it. ~dental ce

Darlene said...

Yes I agree. Navigation of the health system continues to be one of the biggest issues for consumers. This is one of the issues we are are working with the Dental Program on.
There is also a health services directory under construction. HCCA is providing input to this. We are very keen to have eligibility criteria included in this so that people can search for services they are eligible to access.