Building a Clinical Inter-professional Collaborative within a Special Needs Dental Clinic: The Crossroads of Dental and SLP Service Delivery
January 17, 2023
A gap in the collaboration of clinical care delivery for individuals with special needs and their families exists. Dentists’ and speech-language pathologists' collaboration is critical for comprehensive patient care, rehabilitation and management.
The course “Building a Clinical Inter-professional Collaborative within a Special Needs Dental Clinic: The Crossroads of Dental and SLP Service Delivery” took place in October and November 2022 and received grant funding from Linking Interprofessional Networks for Collaboration (LINC)
It was a co-curricular course involving evidence-based oral health learning experiences through didactic lectures and simulated exercises while introducing the roles and responsibilities of each health professional. Faculty leading the project included School of Dentistry Assistant Clinical Professor Noorpreet Kaur
, BDS, MPH, and School of Health Professions Communication Sciences and Disorders Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Professor Angela Kennedy
, SLP-D, CCC-SLP, and Assistant Professor Casey Taliancich-Klinger
, PhD, CCC-SLP, assisted by Leader, LINC Co-Curricular IPE Initiative Clinical Professor Moshtagh Farokhi
, DDS, MPH, in the School of Dentistry. School of Dentistry students Patrick Prince, Kushal Patel, Claudia Mendiola, Bobak Rahgozar and Samar Reda Dawy participated in the course.
Mendiola, a second-year dental student, said she wanted to participate in the pilot project for several reasons, including the fact that two of her cousins have experienced dental care challenges due to having intellectual disabilities. She welcomed the chance to learn more about speech-language pathology as another opportunity to provide the best care to patients.
“I knew the bare minimum about speech pathologists,” Mendiola said. “I thought they were helping children and adults with their speech overall. I didn’t know it was about their function, swallowing and other complications. I think we just have a general idea of other professions but we don’t realize how well we can work together for the better care of the patients. I think it opens a whole new door.”
Dental and speech-language pathology students discussed and developed strategies to effectively communicate information between health professionals when conducting a patient’s medical history, oral health examination and diagnosis and treatment planning to better care for individuals with special needs by a clinical toolkit.
This program allowed Kaur, Kennedy and Taliancich-Klinger to gain a better understanding of the students’ experiences and perceptions of inter-professional collaboration when working with special needs patients. It also allowed the students to gain greater confidence in their communication skills. Interdisciplinary collaborative care is more comprehensive and by bringing the students together they were able to address the multidisciplinary approach from referral to rehabilitation.
The timing of the project is particularly auspicious given the upcoming Phil and Karen Hunke Special Care Clinic
that UT Dentistry has planned, Kaur said. “We’re hoping this is something we can implement in the future and provide more educational experiences for our students and comprehensive care for our patients at the clinic.”