Jen, age 32, has struggled with disabilities since an early age. As she got older, her schizophrenia became more apparent, as did its impact on her overall health. Jen has lived on the coast for most of her life and, when she’s able to, enjoys going for walks by the beach. Jen has had serious fears stemmed from adverse dental experiences in the past. Jen’s life-long caregiver, Pearl, has always been concerned about maintaining Jen’s oral health. “If you can’t eat and you can’t see, it’s your main crest of living. It really is a big barrier. It affects your total health.”
After unsuccessful attempts in a traditional dental office, Jen was referred to Exceptional Needs Dental Services (ENDS) for dental treatment. ENDS provides dental care access to individuals with exceptional needs, serving those who are functionally impaired, requiring assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL), and are unable to obtain treatment in a traditional office setting.
The ENDS program is a partnership established by four Oregon Dental Care Organizations:
– Capitol Dental Care
– CareOregon Dental
– Managed Dental Care of Oregon
– Willamette Dental
One of ENDS’ providers, Lori Killen Aus, EPDH, worked very slowly to gain Jen’s trust. On their first visit, Lori was able to get Jen to talk about those bad experiences and assured her that such ordeals would not happen with her. Jen responded to Lori’s calming expertise by opening her mouth enough for Lori to brush her teeth. Six months later, Jen was still very hesitant, but Lori was able to calm her down by reminding her that she was not there to create a dreadful visit. The next time Lori visited, Jen was practically jumping up and down with her arms open for a hug.
As time has gone on, Jen has grown to trust Lori so much with her dental care that she recently asked Lori if she could take a photo of the two of them for her to cherish. The ENDS program is fortunate to work with providers like Lori Killen Aus, EPDH, who has been practicing dental hygiene for over 40 years. Because of the dental care benefits made possible by Oregon Health Plan (OHP), and providers like Lori, Jen is having her dental needs met and couldn’t be happier.