A large portion of our patients come from countries with diverse cultures and languages. We aim to ensure the needs of these patients are met through being sensitive and responsive to their needs.
Refugees and asylum seekers are eligible to receive public dental care and receive priority access, which means they do not generally have to go on waiting lists to access general and denture care.
A recent arrival from a war torn country, Aaron’s teeth were in urgent need of attention. His parents were desperately trying to alleviate his pain through alternative methods, even attempting to remove the offending tooth themselves. Speaking very little English, the family had no idea of the free dental services available to them. The school welfare officer contacted staff from the local community dental clinic who immediately arranged an appointment for Aaron.
Needless to say, by the time Aaron was referred to the dental clinic he was extremely irritable, in pain and scared. The first visit was used to organise a three-way interpreter telephone consultation that enabled staff to record an accurate medical history, as well as explaining to the parents and Aaron the treatment required.
Unfortunately, Aaron was very upset and refused treatment. The staff needed to adopt a different approach. They arranged for the parents to bring Aaron into the clinic for short visits to familiarise him with the surroundings and encouraged some simple role playing (not to mention giving away a few extra stickers).
A series of appointments were then organised with an on-site interpreter and through these, Aaron became familiar with staff and the dental routine and was eager to return. With patience, persistence, flexibility and staff dedication, all treatment was successfully completed.
Last updated: 2014-02-20