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A new tool to support communication between dentist and patients with intellectual and communication disabilities

Session 
9.2
Research Stream
  • Rolf Black (University of Dundee)
  • Rachel Menzies (University of Dundee)
  • Daniel Herron (University of Dundee)
  • Sandra Quinn (University of Dundee)
  • Ruth Freeman (University of Dundee)
  • Annalu Waller (University of Dundee)
Summary

We describe the development of an iPad application to help people with intellectual and communication disabilities to understand more clearly dental procedures and to improve communication, and thus to reduce anxiety for both patients and clinicians. The aim is to empower patients to be more involved in the decision-making process and to have more control over their own dental care.

Method/Activities/Techniques

A user-centred design philosophy was employed to develop and evaluate an iPad app for use at home and at the dental clinic, to support dental intervention through improved communication. The project involved dental staff, patients and their carers in all stages of development.

Results/Findings

Dentists reported on the need for specific information on special needs of their patients which they could access in addition to medical records. The use of Social Stories and the ability to inform the dentist of specific issues and patients' concerns in advance of an appointment emerged as the main desires for the design of the app.

Conclusions

In a summative evaluation the app was used to support patients and the dentists during routine dental appointments. Feedback from all stakeholders indicated that the app successfully supported communication between dentist and patient.

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Level of Session 
General
Age Group 
All Ages
Interest 
Primary school
Secondary school
Special school
Further/Higher Ed.
Adult
Transitions