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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Dental care beyond BC Children’s Hospital : perspectives on the transition experience for young adults with special health care needs Algahtani, Mazin


Objectives: To determine the extent to which young adults with special health care needs (YASHCN) who transitioned from care at BC Children’s Hospital Department of Dentistry (BCCH-DD) with/without the help of their caregivers were successful and satisfied in establishing a dental home and, to understand this transition process from the perspective of the dentists who care for them. Methods: This cross-sectional study sampled two populations: YASHCN or their caregiver and dental providers known to care for persons with disabilities (PWD). YASHCN: Eligible subjects (n=80) born 1996 or earlier and discharged from care at BCCH-DD were identified. Demographic variables and medical diagnosis were collected from dental records. Subjects were surveyed by telephone to determine the accessibility, satisfaction, and barriers to dental care services. Dentists: Dentists identified as providers (n=11) for PWD were surveyed to collect practice demographics, education, and knowledge related to treatment of PWD. Univariate and bivariate analysis, and thematic description interpreted the data. Results: YASHCN: forty subjects (50%) consented to participate in the telephone survey. The majority of YASHCN reported good/excellent oral health (57%), had seen a dentist in the last 12 months (70%), felt they had received what was needed (68%), and were satisfied/somewhat satisfied with the care they received (75%). Medical complexity, lack of awareness about dental needs and issues related to the transition process (poor communication, extended wait time for adult facility uptake) were reported as barriers. Dentists: Eight dentists (72%) participated in the survey. Patient cooperation, age, and severity of medical condition influenced the dentists’ decision to treat PWDs. Dentists confirmed YASHCN’s reported access difficulties and made recommendations to address personal (behavior, age), family (caregiver involvement) and system level (insurance, hospital/anesthesia access) issues. Conclusions: The majority of YASHCN/caregivers expressed satisfaction with their present dental status and dental care access. Their concerns, along with the recommendations of dental providers, should be considered in the refinement of the transition experience from BCCH-DD to adult care settings and also used to further advocate for dental care access for PWD of all ages.

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