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February 2016

Group of nurses jpeg
Assistant nurse unit manager Alison Stephenson, nurses Ethna Morris and Cindy Cosar, anaesthetist Elizabeth Hessian, nurse unit manager Paul Buso, clinical nurse specialist Linda Wilkins, theatre technician Duncan McKenzie, clinical nurse specialist Elizabeth Ryke, facio-maxillary registrar Shiva Subramaniam, DHSV dental nurse Pam Rawnsley and dentist Dr Warren Shnider at Williamstown Hospital.

Specialist dental service for the west

Western Health and Dental Health Services Victoria have established a specialist dental service for patients with an intellectual disability and other complex medical conditions.

The new dental service at Williamstown Hospital provides additional care from nursing staff to reduce the anxiety often experienced by patients with an intellectual disability when they visit a dentist.

It is currently the only service of its kind in Victoria.

Western Health perioperative services manager Bronwyn Menadue said many patients had waited several years for dental treatment because their complex needs were unable to be catered for at mainstream dental services.

‘Our patients and their carers come from all over Victoria and some need to stay overnight in hospital,’ Ms Menadue said.

‘They’re often very anxious about their stay but our staff have been wonderful in providing the physical and emotional support required to provide the best care possible.’

Abruh, the mother of a patient with a severe disability at the Williamstown Hospital facility, said the specialist service helped ease her son’s anxiety about receiving dental care.

‘We were treated with such kindness and compassion, which made a stressful situation more bearable.

‘It was the first time my son felt important and that he mattered.’

Western Health staff developed the service by visiting DHSV to gain a better understanding of dental patients with special needs.