Investigating Patients’ Understanding of Dental Student-Delivered Care Plans

Barry Quinn, Sohal Balraj

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPoster abstractpeer-review


PO-016. Investigating Patients’ Understanding of Dental
Student-Delivered Care Plans
Balraj Sohal, Barry Quinn, King’s College London
Educational Research
The aims of this study were to investigate patients’ understanding of
dental care plans provided by undergraduate dental students, identify
areas ofpoor communication, and recommend areas that require improved
communication skills instruction. Methods: Institutional Review Board
approval was granted to interview care-planned patients to identify their
level ofunderstanding ofthe proposed treatment. Patients were randomly
selected and consented for their participation in this pilot study (n=33).
The patients’ written care plans were transcribed to another form, and
then they were asked, “What do you understand by each treatment item
on the plan?” The patients’ responses were documented verbatim. Stu—
dent subjects were year 4 in a five-year program. Some patients simply
repeated what had been written on their care plan and were excluded; 24
of 33 patients’ information was accepted for analysis. For the preventive
treatment section, patients’ underv nling was graded in a binary system:
0=no understanding and 1=eompr. .rderstge‘nding ofpropOse-d treatment.
For the restorative section ofthe e. t plan, 0=no understanding, 1—p—artial
understanding, and 2=complete understanding ofthe proposed treatment.
Results: Only four patients (16.6%) out of 24 had 100% understanding
of their care plan. Specified terms were understood by the following
percentages; oral hygiene instruction 52%, scale and polish 31%, diet
advice 12.5%, and crown 33%. None of the patients understood the terms
“six-point pocket-chart” and “onlay.” Conclusion: The results of this pilot
study suggest that dental students should simplify information, exclude
jargon and abbreviations, and get patients to repeat their understanding
of care plans. Written communication must be legible and in a form that
the patient understands, rather than plans being presented in a format
understandable to the profession. This project highlights some of the
barriers to achieving informed and understood consent.
View publication
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJournal of Dental Research
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


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