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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 105-112

Healthcare providers' psychosocial support for patients with a cleft: Europe and Australia

1 Dental Department/Cleft Lip and Plate Unit, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia
2 Department of Computing and Information Technology, Curtin University, Perth, WA
3 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Marmara University Pendik Research and Training Hospital Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
4 Riga Cleft Lip and Palate Centre, Riga Stradinas University, Riga, Latvia
5 Department of Orthodontics, Riga Cleft Lip and Palate Centre, Riga Stradinas University, Riga, Latvia
6 Dentistry Clinic, Faculty of Medicine, University of Nis, Nis, Serbia
7 Plastic and Craniofacial Unit, Medical University Plovdiv, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
8 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, Marmara University Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey
9 Centre for Appearance Research, University of West England, Bristol, England, UK

Correspondence Address:
Wendy Nicholls
Princess Margaret Hospital, Dental/Cleft Lip and Palate Unit, GPO Box D184, Perth 6984
Western Australia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jclpca.jclpca_62_17

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Background: The long-term care of patients with a visible appearance difference may involve many years of multidisciplinary treatment. In addition to providing the physical treatment component, support for the emotional and psychosocial implications must also be considered. The primary objective of this project was to survey healthcare professionals (HCPs) from each of the participating countries to ascertain their level of awareness and understanding of the issues facing those with visible differences, their level of confidence in supporting those patients, and their current and required level of training. Secondary objectives were to gauge the perceived importance of appearance and the psychosocial impact for individuals with visible differences. Methods: Questionnaires were completed by multidisciplinary HCPs in four European countries and Australia. Results: The results for all countries (110 participants) indicate that the majority of HCPs do not feel confident in dealing with the psychosocial needs of people with an appearance disfigurement. Conclusion: All countries identified and supported the need for training of multidisciplinary HCPs to be able to identify and support the psychosocial problems experienced by individuals and families. A collaborative future training program aimed at providing effective psychosocial support and was identified to be the most efficient mode to meet the training requirement. Provision of training will offer the knowledge base for effective psychosocial support and address the unintentional marginalization and social exclusion that may occur by untrained HCPs.

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