A major challenge facing the health and well-being of people with intellectual and/or communication disabilities is the level of anxiety experienced by both the patient and the dentist. When the patient with is anxious, they may become defensive and exhibit challenging behaviour when the dentist attempts to treat them. As a result of this, the procedure either may have to be abandoned or the patient sedated. The need for sedation is a common problem in dentistry as patients with intellectual disabilities often require a general anaesthetic for simple dental treatment. This carries increased risks, a longer recovery time and increases the cost of the procedure to the NHS.
One reason for patients’ anxiety is difficulties in communication between patient and dentist. In particular, it can be difficult for dentists to provide patients with intellectual disabilities with information about the treatment they require in a way that they can understand. An inability to understand what is about to happen or to express concerns can make a visit to the dentist frightening and stressful. In addition, it is considered good practice to obtain informed consent or assent from all patients. However, clinicians are often unsure if a patient with intellectual disabilities has understood explanations of procedures. It is difficult for people with intellectual disabilities to understand how abstract information relates to them with the result that, compared to the general population, patients with intellectual disabilities find it significantly more difficult to make healthcare decisions.
Personalised scenarios are used extensively in various situations, such as visiting new places and keeping to routines, to help allay concerns of people with intellectual disabilities. The main objective of this project is to create an effective and efficient means of generating personalised social stories for individual patients within the dental context. The study aims to develop a computer based communication system to support people with intellectual disabilities to understand dental procedures with the aim of reducing anxiety for both patients and clinicians, and to enable patients to be more involved in the decision making process.
EPSRC, RCUK Digital Economy, Research in the Wild
Prof Annalu Waller
Phone: 01382 388223
Dr Gillian Elliot
Senior Dental Officer, NHS Tayside
Prof Ruth Freeman
Prof Gerry Humphris
Professor of Health Psychology
Dr Rachel Menzies
Dr Sandra Quinn
Dr Lesley Scott
Special Care Dental Office, RA
Dr Yuefang Zhou
Quinn, S., Herron, D., Menzies, R., Scott, L., Black, R., Zhou, Y., Waller, A., Humphris, G., Freeman, R. (in press). The Video Interaction Guidance approach applied to teaching communication skills in dentistry. European Journal of Dental Education.
Zhou, Y., Black, R., Freeman, R., Herron, D., Humphris, G., Menzies, R., Quinn, S., Scott, L. & Waller, A. (2014). Applying the Verona coding definitions of emotional sequences (VR-CoDES) in the dental context involving patients with complex communication needs: An exploratory study. Patient education and counseling 97 (2014) 180–187. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2014.07.023
Black, R., Zhou, Y., Freeman, R., Herron, D., Humphris, G., Menzies, R., Quinn, S., Scott, L., & Waller, A. (2014). Valuing the User Voice in the Design of Communication Technologies. Poster session presented at European Association of Communication in Healthcare International conference on communication in healthcare, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Zhou, Y., Black, R., Freeman, R., Herron, D., Humphris, G., Quinn, S., Scott, L., & Waller, A. (2014). Applying the VR-CoDES in the dental context involving patients with complex communication needs. Poster session presented at European Association of Communication in Healthcare International conference on communication in healthcare, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Black, R., Freeman, R., Herron, D., Humphris, G., Menzies, R., Quinn, S., Scott, L., Waller, A. & Zhou, Y. (2014). A new tool to support communication between dentist and patients with intellectual and communication disabilities. Communication Matters National Conference, Leeds, UK. (Slides)
Herron, D., Black, R., Elliot, G., Freeman, R., Humphris, G., Menzies, R., Quinn, S., Scott, L., Waller, A. & Zhou, Y. (2014). A new tool to support communication between dentist and patients with intellectual and communication disabilities. 16th Biennial Conference of the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC), Lisbon, Portugal.
Menzies, R., Herron, D., Scott, L., Freeman, R., Waller, A. (2013). Involving clinical staff in the design of a support tool to improve dental communication for patients with intellectual disabilities. In Proceedings of the 15th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers and accessibility (ASSETS ’13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 57-64.
Menzies, R., Herron, D., Freeman, R., Waller, A., Scott, L. (2013). Stories at the Dentist: Identifying communication issues in special care dentistry settings. In Communication Matters National Symposium, Leeds, UK p20. 15-17 September.