Dentist office in Allegany County becomes more sensitive to dementia patients

Posted at 5:56 PM, Oct 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-11 08:21:58-04

Houghton Dental Center staff are hoping to improve its quality of care among some of its most vulnerable patients. Last month, the staff went through dementia training. 

Doctor David Dougherty is a veteran dentist in the office. He’s been in practice since 1996. But, he's seeing patients in a whole new way thanks to dementia training. The idea came about after Dougherty said he learned one of his patients was specialized in treating the medical condition.

The daylong seminar focused on two areas. First, the warning signs of dementia. Can a patient follow simple instructions? Or, do they have trouble remembering short term tasks? And second, improved quality of care for patients who have already been diagnosed. “We've got to be a lot more visual. We've got to slow it down, take it easy and explain it,” Dougherty said. 

There's also nothing red in the office anymore. The color triggers anxiety. 

Over all, Dougherty said the course was eye opening. “A big thing is the anxiety and fear of the patient because they have dementia. You don't want to heighten that and make it worse, you want to lower it,” he said.