How do you keep a focus on children and vulnerable adults rather than parents and carers when it comes to missed appointments and dental safeguarding?
Maintaining a Child Focus
It is important to maintain a child focus in any safeguarding investigation, or indeed, at any point in your career where you may have concerns about the wellbeing of a child or young person.
The same applies in the case of vulnerable adults.
Unfortunately, though none of us like to think the worst, there are many ways in which a parent or carer can lead people to believe there is nothing wrong when, under the surface, there might be any number of serious issues affecting a child or family’s wellbeing.
Did Not Attend vs. Was Not Brought
Dental teams across the United Kingdom are encouraged to consider missed appointments as a cause for concern, particularly in the case of children and vulnerable adults.
Where previously, we might have considered a missed appointment in terms of, “Did Not Attend,” dental teams are now asked to consider missed appointments in terms of, “Was Not Brought.”
This reflects the idea that children and vulnerable adults most likely do not have the means to attend their appointments without their parent or carer bringing them—and when appointments are missed without genuine reason, it could be a sign of more serious issues, potentially even abuse and neglect, that could be going on at home.
This makes it incredibly important to listen and react in the appropriate manner when a child, young person, or vulnerable adult makes any type of disclosure to you or another member of the dental team. Healthcare professionals, statistically in the UK, are very likely to be trusted as some of the first—perhaps even the only—individuals a child or adult at risk may feel safe to trust with their disclosure.
As a professional, no matter your role in the dental team, it is not only your professional responsibility but also your legal duty to know what to do in the event of a disclosure, and how to take these safeguarding concerns and pass them on to the right partner or agencies that will be able to help the child or adult at risk.
Dental Safeguarding Training
A verifiable dental safeguarding course such as our British Dental Association-recommended Introduction to Adult/Child Protection will help you to understand the many signs and indicators of abuse and neglect as well as giving a general overview of the correct way to refer any concerns you might have.
It is crucial to keep as much information as confidential as possible when a safeguarding concern or disclosure arises. You should also be mindful of how you interact directly with the individual making the disclosure—sadly, one wrong word or misjudgement of character can frighten an individual at risk and make them doubt their decision to share what is happening to them.
Dental safeguarding training exists to prepare you for difficult safeguarding incidents and disclosures, which can happen to anybody at any time. For this reason, it is incredibly important (and also a legal duty, one which the Care Quality Commission will check on during your next inspection) for every member of the dental team, including admin and other non-clinical staff, to have completed at least an introductory dental safeguarding course.
This is a British Dental Association-recommended online safeguarding course written in line with the most current CQC guidance, and it is essential training for all staff working in a dental practice including trainee staff, volunteers, admin staff, and temporary staff.
Introduction to Adult/Child Protection offers a great foundation for effective safeguarding, with information on the various types of abuse and neglect, the different signs and indicators that you will need to look out for in the dental practice, and the best way to react if you have a safeguarding concern.
This course is worth 3 hours of verifiable continuous professional development (CPD) under the General Dental Council Lifelong Learning Scheme. It falls in line with Level 1 dental safeguarding training requirements.
Advanced Dental Safeguarding Training
However, for some members of the dental team, it is not enough to complete only introductory-level dental safeguarding training. All clinical staff and those taking on extra responsibility for safeguarding in the dental practice will also need to complete advanced safeguarding training.
In an advanced-level dental safeguarding training course, you will delve deeper into the processes surrounding dental safeguarding in order to understand how to work as part of a multi-agency team and how best to make referrals when it comes to safeguarding a child or adult at risk. It is essential for the Safeguarding Lead Person in your dental team to have completed an advanced-level safeguarding course.
Both introductory (Level 1) and advanced (Level 2) dental safeguarding training can be taken as an online course.
This is a British Dental Association-recommended online safeguarding course written in line with the most current CQC guidance, and it is essential training for all staff working in a clinical capacity or taking on additional responsibilities for safeguarding in the dental practice, such as the Safeguarding Lead Person.
Further Adult/Child Protection builds upon the knowledge you have already learned in the Child Protection Company’s introductory course, with further detail on the safeguarding laws and legislation, how to make referrals, and what to do in the event of a safeguarding emergency in your dental team.
Please note: You must complete Introduction to Adult/Child Protection before taking this course in order to gain the full breadth of safeguarding knowledge necessary to pass your CQC inspection and deliver effective safeguarding in your dental team.
This course is also worth 3 hours of continuous professional development (CPD) under the General Dental Council Lifelong Learning Scheme. It falls broadly in line with Level 2 dental safeguarding training requirements only when completed with Introduction to Adult/Child Protection.
Got a question about dental safeguarding?
If you would like to speak to the Child Protection Company’s friendly customer support team about dental safeguarding training, or if you are interested in receiving a tailor-made quote for your team, please get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, calling us on 01327 552030, or using the live chat feature on this website.
The Child Protection Company offices are open from 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.