OHP Success Story – Spring 2016

“Eating and Smiling Again” Ruth

Ruth, age 61, was born and raised in Portland. For most of her life she worked as a Certified Nursing Aide, taking care of children and adults. Over the past few years she has developed dementia and acute situational anxiety. Due to     her declining condition she developed the inability to tolerate treatment in a traditional dental office and even at home. She was in so much pain that her caregivers had great difficulty even touching her mouth. “She was losing weight and not eating – it was very touch and go,” said one facility worker. Her mobile dental provider, Dr. James Edwards, recommended she be treated in a hospital setting.

Hospital treatment requires the coordination of many providers and staff. It can even require a great deal of support from the patient’s family or guardians. Ruth wasn’t exactly on an island, but she was without any family support. Fortunately, her Primary Care Physician, care facility staff, providers from the hospital, and the staff at Exceptional Needs Dental Services (ENDS) stepped in to fill that gap. The PCP, Dr. Robert Tilley, signed the consent forms necessary for the surgery to go forward. Without him taking on that responsibility Ruth would not have received this crucial treatment.

After being successfully treated her caregivers report that, “She’s eating and smiling again, participating in activities that she wasn’t able to do before the surgery.” Ruth has spent her life caring for others. The dental care benefits made possible through Oregon Health Plan, and providers like Dr. Robert Tilley and the ENDS Program help to ensure that she is taken care of too.


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