Author Nimisha Nariapara is the Trade Marketing Manager at Carestream Dental covering the UK, Middle East, Nordics, South Africa, and CIS regions.
As society continues to evolve and become more inclusive, it’s a good idea to consider how accessible your practice is and if there are any changes you can make to ensure that it’s a welcoming space for all.
This not only means looking at ways to appeal to patients who may have disabilities or who are from different cultures, but also thinking about the wider conversation surrounding things such as gender. We live in an incredibly diverse world now, so it’s always good to ensure that everyone feels like they can turn to you if they need treatment.
Language is one of our greatest tools, but we need to remember that not everyone has the same skill levels in English. There are many people who can find even general conversations daunting, let alone communications about their health that could include more complex language.
Language data gathered in 2018 by the Government suggests that 1.6% of the UK population are unable to speak English well or at all, with further data showing that the vast majority of these are women. Interestingly, this data also reveals that the second most common spoken language in the UK is Polish (though this does not include native languages Scots and Welsh which are both more common).
So, what can dental practices do to help overcome language barriers? One of the first steps is to ensure that speech remains simple and clear. Jargon is already off-putting even for those with good English language skills, but it can make conversations all but incomprehensible for people who don’t have a good standard of English.
It may be worth investing in materials in other languages, especially if you notice that a high portion of your patient base are not native speakers. These can be easily found online and can make all the difference.
In recent years, people have also started to explore their own identity in more depth. This has meant that there are growing numbers of people who identify as the opposite to their birth gender, as gender fluid or non-binary.
While true figures are difficult to ascertain, surveys have suggested that about 1 in 250 people identify as non-binary (0.4% of the population) – though it is worth mentioning that this statistic is from 2014, so likely to be out of date.
A more recent survey that spoke to thousands of LGBT+ identifying individuals found that in over 100,000 respondents 6.9% were non-binary, 3.5% were trans women and 2.9% were trans men.
It seems our society is becoming more fluid and diverse – making it worthwhile to adopt more inclusive language in practice which has already been adopted in the NHS, and dental practices can easily follow suit by asking about preferred pronouns when signing patients on, as well as making existing patients aware that they can adjust their preferences if necessary.
This way you can show you value their gender identity while also being able to tailor any communications to them, supporting excellent patient care. It’s not just language that needs to be adjusted to be more inclusive. Access for those with disabilities is also important, and dental practices should be making efforts to assist those with disabilities where possible, especially in terms of access and treatment.
This is especially pertinent when you consider that there are 14.6 million physically disabled people in the UK. While some changes to practice architecture aren’t always possible (such as the installation of ramps), any changes of this type should be implemented where possible.
Dental teams can harness technology to make treatment more inclusive. At Carestream Dental we have addressed this issue with the CS 9600 CBCT system (top) the only unit in its class with an integrated patient seat and AI-assisted positioning, helping create a better-quality scan for all, including those with disabilities.
Plus, with 5-in-1 functionality, 14 fields of view and low dose imaging, it’s little wonder the system is a 4-time winner of the Cellerant Best of Class Technology Award.
For more information, call 0800 169 9692 or visit www.carestreamdental.co.uk
See the original article here: Dental Industry Review