Healthy Smiles at Elouera Justice Health Facility

20 August 2013

The oral health status of prisoners and inpatients confined to psychiatric wards has been found to be at a lower level compared to the general population.

During the 2013 BOH Student Placements, Shaya Elliin and James Lee worked with Justice Health dental officer, Dr Keith Heap, to develop the 'Healthy Smiles at Elouera' program aimed at education and support for optimal oral health and wellbeing of Justice and Forensic mental health patients.

Following a review of evidence-based literature, internal reviews and interviews to identify risks to oral health and areas of concern a vast range of products, such as oral health information board, 'hidden sugars' fridge laminates, inpatient and staff education booklet, forensic hospital dentist handout, and patient and staff education presentation, were implemented. The program's impact evaluation indicated there was a significant rise in staff confidence levels.

Barriers encountered, such as the hospital's strict security policies restricting introduction of materials into the complex, led to application of contingency plans with the result that program presentations and resources were positively received with wide-spread appreciation by both staff and inpatients.

The 'Healthy Smiles at Elouera' program successfully pioneers as the first oral health promotion program at the Long Bay Forensic hospital establishing a sustainable foundation for future programs. Significant improvement in staff and inpatient attitudes, knowledge and understanding of oral health has resulted in positive outcomes improving the oral health status in this population group.

(L to R) James Lee, Dr Keith Heap, Shaya Elliinn
(L to R) James Lee, Dr Keith Heap, Shaya Elliinn

Contact: Cathryn Forsyth

Phone: 02 9633 2333

Email: 2f072d1a430f56571c27462a1c4c3826580c2c2b5d0c4533314c052c43