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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: This study identified opportunities for occupational therapists serving those with a spinal cord injury needing community based dental care. METHODS: Dental professionals answered survey questions on attitudes toward treating clients with a spinal cord injury, knowledge of transfer skills, occupational therapy as a community resource, and dental clinic physical design. The data collected for this pilot study were analyzed using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: The participants revealed hesitation toward treating these clients, some knowledge of occupational therapy as a community referral source, limited knowledge for transfer skills, and questionable clinic designs for meeting accessibility guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this pilot study should spark interest in more similar study’s and expand sample size. Based upon the initial findings, it would seem occupational therapists should search for appropriate dental offices in which to refer clients with a spinal cord injury. In addition, occupational therapists could serve as consultants to local dental clinics ensuring adequate quality of care for a variety of disabilities. Ultimately, the profession is uniquely positioned to educate clients and providers promoting utilization of community oral health care services.

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