An RDHAP is licensed to provide dental hygiene care to those with limited access to care in the traditional dental office setting. I want to expand a little more about what a person who has "limited access to dental hygiene care" look like.
Further breaking the list our scope of practice into 4 smaller bits of information, today's post will be on the residential care facility.
This is Part 3 of 4:
The RDHAP can provide dental hygiene care to patients in residential care facilities. What are residential care facilities? The can include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, board and care homes, dementia care facilities, residential homes for those with developmental disabilities, and any group home that meets the daily living needs of the person who has mental, emotional, or physical limitations that require 24-hour care or supervision.
Residents who live in any of these types of situations are those who generally have difficulty getting to the dental office. They may be confined to bed, require a special vehicle to be transported, or possibly constant use of oxygen or fluids. They may be fearful of the outside world, and some may even have a disease or disability that makes going to a public facility hazardous to their health.
These patients commonly do best when they maintain a routine, so getting out and making the trek to the dental office can be a real upheaval in their lives. Having their teeth cleaned in the comfort of their home environment is certainly less stressful for all.
Every patient needs to see a dentist periodically, however. Dentists diagnose and treat dental diseases that an RDHAP cannot. The RDHAP can communicate with the patient’s dentist, share information, and hopefully reduces the anxiety of a visit to the dentist.
If you are concerned about the oral health of a family member or someone under your care, please feel free to contact an RDHAP near you. These professionals may be able to help. The RDHAP commonly contacts the facility management to arrange visits, continually keeping family in the loop.
Residential care facility staff members are very busy and oral health care is among the many procedures they provide during the day. The RDHAP is also able to provide oral health care in-service training for staff.
Elena Francisco, RDHAP, MS has been practicing dental hygiene for over 40 years and has been an RDHAP since 2005.