A Change Project to Improve Dental Services Provision to Preschool Children in Primary Care
Dental decay is a troublesome disease that could significantly impact on children’s oral and general health. Early prevention is crucial and despite the public preventive strategies inIrelandthe decay rate in preschool children remains significantly high. The Health Service Executive provides a range of routine dental services to children in priority groups through the School Programme of the Public Dental Service. Preschool children are not routinely covered by this programme and their receipt of dental care is limited to general oral health messages provided through primary care child services. The financial restrictions have reduced children’s access to the public dental clinics which made the problem worse for preschool children. The project was concerned with providing early routine preventive interventions by Public Health Nurses in the form of oral health education for parents and oral health assessment for preschool children within primary care settings. The rationale for change was to optimise the role of primary care team members by integrating oral health services into their routine care for patients. This integration was achieved by implementing a basic dental training programme to assist the Public Health Nurses in delivering the new service more effectively and adequately. The change model used in implementing the project was Young’s meta-model which made the project process more organised and progress with ease. The project evaluation process provided positive results and feedback on the implementation of the change. The future outcomes of children’s oral health depend on the trained nurses’ and their implementation of the change.