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Current Approaches Ineffective in Caring for Patients With Developmental Disabilities

Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, new research suggests a system-based approach is needed to improve oral health outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, new research suggests a system-based approach is needed to improve oral health outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Findings from the Australian study, “Countering the Poor Oral Health of People With Intellectual and Developmental Disability: A Scoping Literature Review,” published in BMC Public Health, indicate individually tailored treatment is the best way to address the diverse needs of this patient population.

Researchers at Western Sydney University, Hawkesbury Campus, reviewed existing literature to summarize the evidence on when and where to intervene for patients with IDD. The team reviewed 41 studies published between January 2000 and March 2019, grouping them into three categories:

  • Interventions—technical and educational
  • Perspectives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their caregivers
  • Nonclinical service delivery contexts

The investigators concluded that a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to prove effective in improving oral health outcomes for this patient population. Instead, they recommend adopting a system-based approach that incorporates procedural, behavioral, and educational elements, and that is adaptable enough to be applied to a variety of patient-care contexts.

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