Dentistry and vaccination of patients with special health care needs
December 22, 2021
Edmonton – A multi-disciplinary health care team successfully provided four vaccines to a needle-phobic patient while undergoing a dental procedure.
Dr. James Lipon, an Edmonton-based pediatric dentist, facilitated a young patient with a medical diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome and Autism, and a needle phobia that prevented him from receiving vaccinations in undergoing all procedures at one time. The patients mother had reported feeling helpless as she wished for her son to receive a COVID-19 vaccination but there was no ideal setting for him to have this completed.
Dr. Lipon built a patient care plan that included interfacing with the patient’s pediatrician to determine which vaccines he was due for, a public health nurse to come to the dental clinic to administer two of the vaccines (DTap and meningococcal Groups ACWY-135), and a pharmacist to administer two more vaccines (COVID-19 mRNA vaccine and Hepatitis AB combined vaccines). All of this was delivered while the patient was sedated comfortably and undergoing his dental procedure.
Combining multiple procedures and specialties in one appointment reduces the overall burden to families as it can reduce the number of appointments and time away from school and work.
“Vaccine-preventable illness, whether COVID-19, HPV, or influenza requires an all-hands on deck approach to encourage and facilitate vaccine acceptance and administration. Dentists possess the skills to counsel, prescribe, and administer vaccines. Dentist expertise on pain and anxiety control presents a novel opportunity to reach the vaccine hesitant due to needle-phobia. Collaboration between physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists is essential to reducing the burden of preventable diseases.” Dr. Lee Darichuk, President-Elect, Alberta Dental Association and College
“Providing client-focused care is a top priority of Alberta Health Services, and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with all medical professionals and experts to achieve the best outcome for our clients. In this case, coordinating vaccinations with the dental treatment ensured a patient who would have otherwise faced significant challenges obtaining immunizations through traditional channels could be vaccinated in a safe and stress-free setting. Our school team will always explore options to provide accommodations and support our clients while ensuring safety, and improve the public immunizations rates. We are thrilled that this worked out for this young man and are proud of the team for going above and beyond to provide exceptional service.” Aleem Rajani, Operations Manager for the Rutherford Health Centre.
“This was a very interesting case. Pharmacists enjoy helping people with special needs, especially when we are able to collaborate with other health care providers.” Rami Attari, Pharmacist
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