Saturday, 18 November 2017

Pathway and the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health: Regional London Meeting

Last week, I attended the regional London Meeting for Pathway and the Faculty of Homeless and Inclusion Health.

What is Pathway and the Faculty?

PATHWAY is the UK's leading homeless healthcare charity. They aim to integrate care within the NHS and voluntary sectors for homeless people: from GPs, nurses, housing professionals, hospitals and of course us dentists! They help with the logistics of accessing healthcare for homeless people e.g. recovering important documents, linking to community services, registration with GPs etc. 

The Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health is a network of health professionals working together to help those who find accessing health care most difficult:
  • The homeless
  • Vulnerable migrants
  • Travellers
  • Sex workers
It is free to join the network if you are health professional who manages these groups of people. This will help you keep up to date with current research as well as linking with other professionals in your area who also work with these people. Click here to join!

Homelessness, Physiotherapy and Autism

The regional meeting held at UCLH covered a couple of very interesting subject matters and there was lots of discussion within the audience. 

1. Physiotherapy and patients who are homeless with Jo Dawes

Jo Dawes discussed her plans to set up a research project into access to physiotherapy for patients who are homeless and how physiotherapy treatment can positively impact a homeless person's quality of life. It was interesting to compare how different cities may have different needs for their homeless populations: Jo explained how the service in Glasgow where she previously worker, provided care for their homeless population. 

2. Autism and homelessness with Dr Paula Grant

Dr Paula Grant explored the links between autism and homelessness and presented the findings of her recent research in the area. I found this talk particularly interesting as within my day to day practice, I manage both autistic patients and the homeless. She spoke of how she found that the lifestyle of the homeless has some advantages to people who are autistic e.g. not fitting into social norms, flexibility, limited interaction with others. 

Many thanks to those who spoke at the meeting and it was fantastic to meet others who are passionate about providing health care to hard to reach groups. Homeless and Inclusion Health hold an annual conference in London, March 7/8th. Hopefully I can get to go and see some of you there. Click here for details. 

Do you treat any of these socially excluded groups? Let me know how you manage these patients in the comments section.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

3 Top Tips in Managing Autism with the National Autistic Society

At our most recent staff meeting within our community dental services we received a talk from the National Autistic Society. This post is based on that talk...

What is Autism?

  • Autism is diagnosed by observing behaviour
  • The condition is a spectrum disorder i.e. it affects people in varying degrees
  • Asperger's Syndrome is on the spectrum of autism, but it may not be recognised as a separate diagnosis  soon
  • Prevalence is 1 in 100
  • The cause of autism is unknown; there is thought to be a genetic and environmental component
  • 5:1 ratio of male to female
  • 30% of autistic people also have an associated learning disability

The diagnosis of autism is based of a triad of symptoms: 
  1. Social interaction difficulty
  2. Repetitive behaviours
  3. Communication difficulties

Considerations when interacting with Autistic patients

1. Non-verbal Communication

Autistic patients will often take the literal meanings of words or phrases and have difficulties with non-verbal communication e.g. they do not create eye contact. 

Give increased processing time for these patients, don't give them too much information at once and give instructions in stages/allow them to prepare e.g. Ben, sit in the dental chair then open your mouth then I will use this mirror to look at your teeth. 

2. Structure/Routine

Try structure the environment so they are familiar with their surroundings e.g. see them in the same surgery with same nurse etc. Try to arrange an appointment time that disrupts their day as little as possible and stick to a structured appointment. 

Encourage the parents to create a routine surrounding their oral hygiene regime and create a reward system following the routine e.g. brush teeth, add a sticker to a tooth brushing chart. 

3. Hypersensitivities

Autistic people can be very sensitive to sound, light, touch and so it's something to be aware of in a dental surgery full of foreign experiences! Be aware of use of the dental light - many autistic patients do no like it as well as loud noises like the suction or dental drill. They may also be sensitive to the taste of your dental gloves, toothpaste, fluoride varnish etc. 

For light consider the use of sunglasses. Autistic patients often have ear defenders to block out sound. If patients do not like the sound of vibration of an electric toothbrush, use of a Dr Barman's toothbrush can be useful. 

A usual acronym with interacting with people with Autism is SPELL:


Positive approach (language use, visual)

Empathy and seeing things from another point of view

Low arousal, low stress

Links and consistency

To see other tips in managing Autistic patients see my previous post. Many thanks to NAS for the informative talk!

Do you treat autistic patients? Let me know how you manage these patients in the comments section.

Monday, 30 October 2017

3M Young Talent Award - Back to Seefelt

Seefelt twice in 3 months! But this time I was invited back to the 3M HQ to participate in their Young Talent Award. 

The participants for the awards.

When the UK 3M rep suggested I enter for this award back in the summer, I was very doubtful it would be accepted - but to my surprise I was invited to present one of my paediatric cases alongside some very respected clinicians from the UK and across the world!

There were participants from as far as South Africa and Pakistan and there was a broad range of topics presented. The Young Talent Awards are held every other year in Germany to celebrate some of the young talented dentists across the world! 

The day itself was packed with presentations every 20 minutes, 21 presentations in total from digital smile design, to dental material research, to impressive orthodontic case presentations! All the participants did a fantastic job and there were some very stimulating comments and discussions off the back of all the cases and research that were presenteds.

I presented one of my paediatric cases specifically talking about the Hall Technique (well I had to present a case where I used a 3M product!). 

To see my presentation click here

Of course we were the winning table at wine tasting! 

I didn't win (unsurprisingly), but many congratulations to all the prize winners and to all the other participants! There are some seriously good young dentists about! 

To celebrate, after a very swift costume change, 3M hosted a very entertaining evening of wine tasting which involved a quiz which of course we all got very competitive for! The following day was a bit of a struggle on 3 hours sleep but I had another opportunity to look around the 3M HQ and overall I met some really inspirational and genuine dentists from across the world. 

Many thanks to 3M for another amazing few days and for inviting me back to Seefelt.... I'm sure it won't be the last time!

Do you use any 3M products? Or been to Seefelt in person? Let me know in the comments below. 
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