Create an Engaging Educational Experience for Children: 3
The most important component of Mobile Care is our patients. And knowing that we are equipping them the forever tool of knowledge, is priceless. I believe the old Saying “knowledge is Power.” I also believe that prevention through education is a major key. When we teach our families, our patients in particular, how to identify and reduce triggers, recognize symptoms, properly administer medications and create safe home environment we give them tools to improve their quality of life wherever they are and in whatever stage of life they may be in. The staff at Mobile Care never misses an opportunity to educate. As a matter of fact, most of the time we spend speaking with patients is education-based. We’ve done in-school (pre pandemic) interactive asthma education, we currently do medication education on controller vs quick relief vs allergy medications and when, how and how much to administer. There is also the teaching of proper spacer technique. All of this sounds routine and pretty boring, but then I like to do a thing I call teach-backs. During teach backs the patient (when age appropriate) teaches me or the staff on that van which medications to take, when and how much, when presented with different scenarios. They’re also given the opportunity to demonstrate proper spacer technique. This helps build confidence and encourage the patient to take an active role in controlling their asthma and allergies. I believe that we’ve laid a great foundation and as things progress and we are given greater permissions and less restrictions there will be more opportunities to offer more engaging educational experiences. It is my hope that by educating those enrolled in our program directly that we will indirectly elevate the level of knowledge of those folks that they come in contact with in their daily lives and both kids and adults with asthma and allergies will be adequately educated and able to live a more controlled and asymptomatic life.
-Kamari Thompson, Patient Services Manager
Oral Health Education is an essential component of the dental program. The dental team provides a prevention service, and we strive to educate our patients on the importance of dental care. Many sites/schools are in underserved communities that struggle to receive primary medical/dental care. Patient families, as a result, do not have the privilege of receiving dental care or education very often. Or many parents who fear the dentist and do not have the proper education/experience to share the positive side of dental care with their children.
The dental team educates the K through 2nd-grade students on the importance of healthy eating and brushing/flossing habits. We believe educating the younger children will make a more significant impact and hopefully enlist healthy habits. The team does not leave anyone behind; they also give every student chairside oral health education.
Dr. Navarro and our team of Dental Assistants have presentations with Flossy, the puppet, and a giant toothbrush to show the students the proper way to brush their teeth. Dr. Navarro engages the students by asking questions and having students involved with brushing the puppet’s teeth. She also educates the students with other props on the importance of healthy eating habits. We created an Oral Health Education video over the summer. Due to covid, it was hard to get groups of children together for a presentation. This video helped us reach many students at smaller sites.
If we could involve parents in this educational portion, it may make a more considerable difference to their children’s dental habits. Preventive education for the whole family would be a dream come true.
-Vicky Alcantar, Dental Program Manager
Talk to the leaders of our core programs and they’ll all tell you that 50% or more of managing childhood conditions is education. Each patient visit, regardless of program, incorporates tons of teach-backs and educational materials to help kids and parents stay healthy. The issue we hope to address in our Strategic Plan is building on our success: there’s been a lot of research in education sciences regarding incorporation of interactive and gamification elements to help children learn. We didn’t have those elements when our Strategic Plan started, but we’d like to make education fun and substantial, with lessons children will take with them for the rest of their lives.
Again, we’re not starting from scratch. A major component of every health service available at MCC is patient education. If a patient doesn’t understand the health issue they are dealing with, how their treatment works, and how they can continue that treatment at home, their chances at recovery will be negatively impacted. We wouldn’t want to fill a cavity for a child, and then not educate them on the importance of brushing and flossing- or they’ll show up again in a few months with more cavities. On the asthma and allergy side of things, there are many things the patient needs to do at home to stay on top of managing their condition between visits. This education keeps them safe, and out of the emergency room. Making education engaging and fun is important for many reasons: we want to empower patients to effectively manage their condition and to feel optimistic about their treatment. But by making it fun, our patients are more likely to remember what they’ve learned.
On the communications side, our role is to create materials that support the things our doctors and nurses teach every clinic day. So far, we’ve created an educational welcome packet for Dental Van patients. The packet is visual and colorful, filled with oral health management tips. Our team also filmed an oral health education video for the Dental Team, starring kids ages 3-12, and scripted by the team themselves! We’ve also extended patient education onto our social media pages. Our next step is to work with the Asthma Team and Patient Services to update their educational materials and incorporate videos for asthma and allergies as well. Both programs could benefit from more video content, which is a priority for our team this year. There is a lot of work to do on this topic for communications, but luckily we get to work with the experts in our clinics to bring patient education projects to life.
– Rachel Lessing, Development and Communications Manager