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E35: A Few Thoughts on Safety Concerns Associated with House Call Dentistry

On this week’s podcast, I wanted to share a story with you that happened to me during one of my routine house call visits. I have a long-time patient whom I visit every three months, and recently when I arrived at her house for her appointment, I noticed that her front door was open. This immediately concerned me, as my patient is an older woman who lives alone and is very cautious. After calling inside for the patient she let me know that she would be “right there.” Then after waiting for over 20 minutes I decided to let myself in and found my patient sitting in a chair in her front room with her walker right in front of her. She had been attempting to stand up out of the chair the entire time but her knees just wouldn't let her.

While waiting for those 20 minutes, so many thoughts popped into my head about safety concerns not only for my patient but also for myself. I understand that there are risks involved with providing in-home care, but I believe it's important to not let fear get in the way of offering services to people who really need them. This being said, everyone's journey into house call dentistry is unique and it’s important that you do what is necessary to feel safe and secure on every visit. For some, an assistant might make them feel more comfortable from both a security and liability standpoint. Personally, I feel safe enough to continue solo, however, I am considering some self-defense courses and perhaps wearing a body-cam to mitigate any potential legal jeopardy or liability.

I hope this story was helpful and informative for you. Thank you for taking the time to listen. As always, whether you decide to pursue dental house calls or not, please consider supporting those in need by contributing to the Home Smile Care Foundation. These reflections were inspired by a conversation in The ResiDENTAL Movement's Official Membership Community. Click the link to find out more about the benefits of becoming a member. I appreciate you tuning in!

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Produced by: Social Chameleon

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