Transforming inter-professional dental care: assessment of non-dental healthcare workers' knowledge and attitudes towards children's oral health
Redwan, Alaa Kamil H.
MetadataShow full item record
INTRODUCTION: Children’s Oral Health (OH) is a vital part of their general health. Since many OH problems begin during early childhood, prevention of these problems can be achieved through early and routine preventive dental care. The dental community alone cannot adequately address all oral health care needs. The establishment of an interprofessional oral health primary care workforce team can help provide holistic health care services that can improve children’s OH, particularly among under-served populations. OBJECTIVE: The aim of our study was to assess the effect of Interprofessional Education (IPE) on the level of OH knowledge among pediatricians, nurses, speech-language pathologists, nutritionists, and social workers. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Questionnaires assessing participants’ oral-health knowledge were collected from pediatricians, nurses, speech-language pathologists, nutritionists and social workers who are working or studying in Boston, Massachusetts. Pre-test questionnaires were used to evaluate baseline oral-health knowledge and attitude towards IPE. Post-test survey immediately after the IPE training and a follow-up survey after 6-12 months were used to evaluate immediate and long-term retention of knowledge. Pre-, post- and follow-up scores were assigned based on the participants’ responses. Univariate parametric analysis methods such as T-test and non-parametric tests such as Kruskal-Wallis and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used to assess retention of knowledge and attitude towards IPE. Fisher’s Exact test was used to evaluate differences in the number of high scores. Multiple linear regression models were used to adjust for potential confounders. Statistical significance was reported when p-value <0.05. RESULTS: Among the 557 participants, the immediate post-test scores showed significant improvement when compared to the baseline knowledge scores across different professions (p<0.01). The long-term follow-up scores was lower than the immediate post-test scores (statistical significance was not detected across all professions), however, still significantly higher when compared to the pre-test scores (p<0.01). Among all the participants, the attitude towards collaboration was high (100%). CONCLUSION: Our results highlight the need for collaboration between dental and non-dental healthcare workforce by incorporating IPE into existing curriculum to enhance the retention of knowledge and increase collaboration after graduation. Continuing education programs can significantly contribute towards long-term retention of knowledge.