Ability of the wider dental team to manage patients with acute conditions: a qualitative study

JENNIFER KIRTON, Wendy thompson, Oliver Pearce, JEREMY BROWN

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    Objectives: To understand the attitudes, skills and knowledge of dental reception and practice management teams relating to urgent dental appointments and to identify additional training needs.
    Methods: Two focus groups were held with members of dental practice reception and management teams (n=15). Thematic analysis of the focus group transcripts identified topics, and these were explored in more detail through semi-structured interviews with focus group members (n=5).
    Results: Approaches to triaging people with acute dental problems varied in relation to individual skills and practice policies/ethos. Balancing the needs and desires of patients, dentists and other members of the dental team was challenging for front-line teams. Helpful practices included: dedicated appointment slots for unscheduled patients and a system of feedback between clinical and non-clinical teams. Formal training for new members of the front-line team, especially those without a clinical background, could include: assessing/interpreting symptoms, managing diary pressures and dealing with patient expectations/conflict.
    Conclusions: Receptionists and practice managers have an important role to play in unscheduled dental care. Improved training to undertake this role should help ensure the safety of patients with acute dental problems whilst also optimising the efficient day-to-day running of the practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBritish Dental Journal
    Early online date24 Jan 2020
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jan 2020


    • Dental team
    • Patients


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