A trip to the dentist is generally not anyone’s favorite activity; however, imagine what it would be like if you were a person who used a wheelchair. Transferring to a dental chair is extremely difficult; sometimes even impossible. It is also physically challenging for a dentist to attempt to care for a patient in their wheelchair due to the fixed height and inability to adjust the for the best working angles.
In 2019, a Woman’s Fund grant of $70,000 purchased two compact wheelchair platforms for use in the Santa Barbara and Goleta Neighborhood Dental Clinics. The wheelchair is wheeled onto the platform which is then raised to the appropriate height and angle, preserving the comfort and dignity of the patient, and enhancing safety for both the patient and the dentist. The platforms accommodate a standard dental chair when not needed for a wheelchair, so stay in use throughout the day, as seen in this photo.
The two clinics provided more than 21,000 service encounters from April 2019 to July 2020 in all their chairs. The wheelchair platforms are in continual use at both clinics – and staff and patients express their extreme gratitude to the Woman’s Fund.
This is the time of year when last year’s grantees report what they’ve accomplished with grants from the Women’s Fund. You can also read the 2018-2019 Grants – Year-End Report in the Library on our website. Learn how our combined contributions have made a tremendous, impact on the vulnerable in south Santa Barbara County.
Contributed by Joanne Schoenfeld