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Article: Volume 43 Number 9 Page 849 - November 2016

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  Dent Update 2016; 43: 849-858

Special Care Dentistry:  Blood Tests for People with Severe Learning Disabilities Receiving Dental Treatment under General Anaesthesia

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Abstract: People with learning disabilities (LDs) have poorer health than their non-disabled peers due to failures in reasonable adjustments. One hundred patients with severe LD and challenging behaviour attended for dental treatment under GA, during which routine blood testing was provided. Communication with general medical practitioners (GMPs) and blood test results were evaluated, showing poor communication with GMPs and significant undiagnosed disease among this group. Blood tests generate similar costs in primary and secondary care but a holistic approach to care under GA reduces expenses brought by lost clinical time and resources due to complex behaviours in an out-patient setting.

Clinical relevance: This article discusses a holistic approach to healthcare for people with severe LD, including patient outcomes, financial and resource implications, and offers practical guidance on venepuncture technique, which is relevant to many aspects of both community and hospital dental practice.

Author notes: Stacey Clough, BChD, MJDF RCSEng, Specialist Registrar in Special Care Dentistry, (Stacey.clough@bartshealth.nhs.uk), Zahra Shehabi, BDS, MFDS, MSc, MSpecCareDent, Consultant in Special Care Dentistry, Claire Morgan, BDS, MSc, FDS RCSEng, FDS RCS(Rest Dent), Consultant in Restorative Dentistry, Barts Health Dental Hospital, Turner Street, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB and Claire Sheppey, MBBS FRCA, Consultant Anaesthetist, The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB, UK.

Objective: To increase awareness of the health inequalities among people with severe learning disabilities.