b. How important are community liaisons or site coordinators in portable delivery systems?
Working closely with personnel affiliated with facilities or programs where you would like to provide dental services is important for improved efficiency and effectiveness. Much time can be lost if a patient hasn't been premedicated with a recommended antibiotic, if health history and consent forms have not been signed, or if a person isn't ready for an appointment.
A variety of staff may be instrumental in facilitating care, including administrators, physicians, nurses, social workers, teachers, child health workers, community health aides and nursing aides. A specifically identified and trained "dental liaison" can be especially helpful in coordinating all aspects of the dental visits and care program including:
- Assisting in scheduling the facility and individuals
- Determining eligibility for services
- Coordinating the flow of patients
- Assisting with wheelchair transfers and behavior management
- Managing dental consent and history forms,
- Routing reports of dental visits
- Communicating with family members and site staff
- Assuring availability of the work area, and making arrangements to have it cleaned before and after on-site clinic days
- Following up on recommendations or referrals; case management
- Record keeping
- Providing medical and dental charts (if kept in the facility) and assisting in record keeping
- Assisting with OSHA, HIPAA, and other regulatory requirements
- Identifying changes in medical condition, mental status and guardianship
- Working with the dental provider in communicating essential treatment information to families and/or guardians of patients.
Given the importance of the dental liaison to facilitate quality dental care, try to identify individuals who can be responsible, successful and good communicators. A reward or incentive system may provide a special impetus for staff members already performing many other program and/or facility tasks.