Supporting information exchange for people with severe communication impairments in dental surgeries

Ross Strachan

A visit to the dentist can be a stressful time for many people. It becomes even more stressful for those people with complex communication needs (CCN) who typically have difficulty interacting with clinicians; thus leading to increased and unnecessarily high levels of anxiety. This increased anxiety may well lead to a poorer treatment experience for the patient who often has to be put under general anaesthetic before any dental procedure can be undertaken. This project aimed to research and design a tool to improve communication between patients with CCN and clinicians in a dental environment with particular focus on the communication of pain. Providing a mechanism for both parties to communicate more effectively gives the patient more control over their own dental care experience. Dentists and nurses evaluated the proposed solution to assess its practicality, and found it to show some promising results whilst opportunities for future work have been highlighted.