A new program launched at Christiana Care in partnership with Reeds Refuge Center and Read to Learn/Ribbons and Bows Childcare centers enables children to receive dental care at Wilmington Hospital while their parents are at work.

“A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Cora and Fred Reed at the Delaware Jefferson Awards where they received the Community Service Award,” said Christiana Care social worker Linda Brennan Jones, BALS, BS.  Always looking for opportunities to partner with organizations to help in the community, Brennan Jones invited the Reeds to tour the Abessinio Family Wilmington Health Center and the Edwin L. Granite, D.M.D., Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery & Hospital Dentistry Clinic — both at Wilmington Hospital. “I thought we could partner with them for family care and women’s health. Cora mentioned how many of her children have not established dental care.”

Recognizing that Medicaid covers children’s dental care up to age 19, and that it would be possible to provide care without the parents present, as long as appropriate consent forms were signed by the parents in advance, they worked with Susan Pugliese, D.D.S., general practice dentistry residency program director, to develop a process and a plan.

Nine-year-old Ny’Zira Charles from the Reeds Refuge Center gets a dental X-ray at Wilmington Hospital with help from Dental Assistant Jackie Ortiz.

“The Dental Department at Christiana Care is excited to help our community in a way that is so innovative. The children we’re seeing might not otherwise have access to dental care if Reed’s Refuge Center had not agreed to take the responsibility of bringing them in to be seen,” Dr. Pugliese said. “They are assisting us in stressing the importance of oral health as being a part of one’s overall health. This is a true example of partnerships in the community and in health care.”

The Reeds agreed to be the appointed decision maker and help the parents complete all the paperwork, and to transport the children to our Dental Clinic.

On the morning of Nov. 3, the first three children from Ribbons and Bows and the Reeds Refuge arrived dental services, including exams and X-rays. One child will return in several weeks for followup care, and all are scheduled for six-month followup visits. As additional children are scheduled, the team estimates that as many as 60 new pediatric patients will be able to receive care over the course of the next year.

“Two reasons why we feel we will be successful,” said Brennan-Jones, “are first, the Reeds are taking responsibility to identify and schedule the families and to have all forms completed along with becoming the Decision Maker and transporting them to each office visit. A second reason for optimism is the support of Dr. Pugliese and Pediatric Dentistry Section Chief Lynn M. Collins, D.D.S., to ensure the necessary staff will be available to work directly with the Reeds to schedule and provide pediatric dental care.”