257935 Special Needs Patients: Training Occupational Therapists for Oral Health Assessments

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Breanne Reid, DDS , Pediatric Dentistry Residency (San Diego Site), UCLA Dental School, San Diego, CA
Donna Kritz-Silverstein, PhD , Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA
Purpose: To assess whether oral health assessment training improves the knowledge, attitudes and behavior of occupational therapists (OTs) regarding oral health for children with special health care needs (CSHCN).

Methods: OTs (N=31) were surveyed on oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviors before and 3 months after oral health assessment training. Comparisons were performed with chi-square analyses and paired t-tests.

Results: Age ranged from 24-63y (mean=39.4y). OTs were in practice 12.512.7y, saw 3312.4patients/week. Only 29% reported previous oral health instruction for an average of 1.81.4h. Compared with pre-training, at post-training a significantly greater proportion of OTs knew that dental caries is the most common chronic childhood disease (48 vs 100%, P<.0001), there is mother-child bacterial transmission (84 vs 100%, P=.003), recommended first dental visit is at 1y (48 vs 97%, P=.0004), tooth-brushing should begin at first tooth eruption (39 vs 100%, P<.0001) and white spots signify high decay risk (0 vs 77%, P<.0001). OTs had more positive attitudes concerning the importance of primary teeth (P's≤.001) and more confidence in providing oral health assessments and making dental referrals (P's≤.0001). Compared to pre-training, post-training OTs were significantly more likely to check a child's teeth for decay (P=.0006), counsel on the importance of tooth-brushing (P=.0006), ask about fluoride intake (P=.0004), recommend less cariogenic snacks and promote other oral health preventive behaviors.

Conclusions: Training occupational therapists in oral health assessment resulted in improved oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviors and represents a viable means to improve primary prevention and help reduce dental disparities for CSHCN.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate that training occupational therapists in oral health assessment results in improved oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. 2. Demonstrate that training occupation therapists is a viable means to improving primary prevention and reducing dental disparities for CSHCN.

Keywords: Oral Health, Children With Special Needs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the principal investigator of this study and participated in all aspects of it. This study focused on the effectiveness of an oral health training program for occupational therapists to provide oral health risk assessments to their clients with special needs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.