Interdisciplinary approach to care: the role of the dental hygienist on a pediatric feeding team

J Allied Health. 2012 Winter;41(4):190-7.


Achieving and maintaining optimal oral health proves difficult in children with special health care needs (CSHCN) due to the many challenges this group faces in both medical and dental care.

Purpose: The study's purpose was to gain consensus from members of the Washington state pediatric community feeding team (WSCFT) on the role of the dental hygienist as a team member in relation to elements of care coordination: assessment, dental hygiene diagnosis, planning, implementation, evaluation, advocacy, and health education/promotion.

Methods: The Delphi technique was used in two online rounds to survey the community feeding team members (n = 112). In Round 1, participants were asked to identify items within the elements of care coordination deemed necessary for inclusion in the roles of the dental hygienist as a member of the team. Items identified were categorized within the elements of care coordination. In Round 2, participants rated the importance of each item for inclusion.

Results: Participants identified 33 items for possible inclusion in the role of the dental hygienist in Round 1 and reached consensus in identifying specific roles for the dental hygienist in all 7 elements of care coordination in Round 2.

Conclusion: Members of the WSCFTs believe the dental hygienist's role in an interdisciplinary approach to care would encompass all elements of care coordination. These findings may provide a framework for future implementation of a model for integrating dental hygienists into this multidisciplinary team.

MeSH terms

  • Consensus
  • Delphi Technique
  • Dental Hygienists*
  • Eating*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oral Health
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Pediatric Dentistry*
  • Professional Role*
  • Washington