Overnight dental services for Victorians with special needs

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(left to right) Western Health Assistant Nurse Unit Manager Alison Stephenson, Enrolled Nurse Ethna Morris, Enrolled Nurse 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, Dental Health Services Victoria Dental Nurse Pam Rawnsley and Dentist Dr Warren Shnider.
(left to right) Western Health assistant nurse unit manager Alison Stephenson, enrolled nurse Ethna Morris, enrolled nurse 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, Dental Health Services Victoria dental nurse Pam Rawnsley and dentist Dr Warren Shnider.

Victorian patients with special needs have a new overnight service to help with their dental requirements thanks to a partnership with Dental Health Services Victoria.

The overnight specialist dental service is now at Western Health’s Williamstown Hospital. The service offers patients with disabilities dental healthcare across a range of dental needs including some surgical treatments.

The facility is set to treat those patients who could easily miss out on the care their special needs require in a non-specialist facility. Advocates hope the change will decrease wait times and promote a better understanding of the dental needs of people with special needs.

“As it turns out, a small fraction of our patients may need to be admitted overnight after their treatment,” said Dr Warren Shnider, specialist dentist at the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne. “Although the number is small, their need is great.”

“The patients who require overnight care are those with complex medical reasons such as uncontrolled diseases, severe behavioural issues that require longer care, or those who live far away and are not well enough to travel home”.

“I advocated for this as we identified that our patients have great need for a service like this.”

“What this service has done is open a pathway of access to a group who have faced inordinate difficulties in accessing services.”

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