July 8, 2013

Supported by Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, Mercy Dental Clinic serves patients with special needs

Established in 2007, the Dental Clinic at Mercy Medical Center is part of the hospital’s mission of providing high-quality, compassionate and accessible care for the whole person. The clinic’s 1,500-square foot special needs/pediatric suite furthers this mission. Many disabled, elderly and pediatric patients now consider Mercy Dental Clinic their primary source for dental care. When the clinic needed a specially designed chair to treat special needs patients, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton was able to help.

The clinic purchased the Diaco® dental chair. It is a fully mobile unit designed specifically for patients in wheelchairs. A patient remains comfortably in his or her personal wheelchair, eliminating all manual handling, lifting and hoisting for a safer and more dignified treatment experience.

“We’re so thankful for it,” says Lisa Shannon, director of dental services. “It’s much safer than picking patients up out of their chairs, which has a much greater risk of harm to the patient or the technician.”

Controlled by a joystick, the new dental chair positions the patient at the optimal height and angle for the best possible care. The unit safely holds more than 1,100 pounds, allowing dental care access regardless of a patient’s weight or size.

Users say the Diaco® dental chair offers a smooth ride and that they don’t even feel the movement as it brings them into proper positioning. The new equipment enhances the dental experience for patients with medical conditions that require them to be in a wheelchair, including scoliosis, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), paralysis, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, amputations and others. This is the only unit of its kind available in a five-county area.

“We’ve experienced the pure joy of patients who have not seen a dentist for years because they hadn’t been able to find one with the capacity to treat them,” adds Shannon.

The new equipment gives the clinic the ability to work with a greater range of patients with special needs, supporting Mercy’s mission of offering accessible patient care.

“We use it daily,” says Shannon. “It’s been vital to increasing the accessibility of the dental care we offer.”

The Mercy Dental Clinic and General Practice Residency in Dentistry began as part of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton’s Bethlehem Project for Oral Health.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton and Mercy Medical Center are ministries of the Sisters of Charity Health System. Read more about the work of the foundation and its partners in the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton’s 2012 Annual Report to the Community.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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