Quality of our lives by Dr Rosalind O’Leary

Periodontal disease can be a debilitating condition with far reaching consequences to the quality of our lives.
I have been working as a periodontist for more years than I care to remember. Provision of periodontal care has occupied most of my working life and it still enthuses me to see how we can alter the trajectory of peoples lives both in terms of their oral health but also their confidence.
Out of a job!
So for the first time in many years I found myself unable to go to work for three months in 2020 due to the initial Covid lockdown.
Thankfully the weather was great for most part and I enjoyed spending time in my garden.
So what did I do apart from gardening?
Well it became very clear from the outset that for dentistry to reopen we would have to modify our SOPs and ways of working. We also need to order vast quantities of PPE to ensure that we would be ready to open as soon as we were given the green light.
So in the practice I volunteered myself to monitor and review all the guidance from our regulatory and advisory bodies (of which there are at least 5!) and draw up new guidance for the team. In the early days the guidance changed repeatedly, so this was a continuous process with so many modifications necessary. I continue to provide this role today although thankfully changes to the official guidance are now less frequent.
Chong was in charge of procuring PPE so we worked as a team Volunteering
Apart from sitting at home looking at policies I also did something that I had planned to do at some stage in my life – provide support at my local care home.
This is a topic very close to my heart and one in which I was closely involved in when I was a clinical lead for BUPA.
So having sorted out the permissions, I attended the care home 2/weekin the mornings. There were about 6-8 residents who wished to have company. Anyone who knows me knows that I am well able to talk! So without any other useful skills, my role was to chat to some of the residents. This was a truly rewarding thing to do and it was clear that they really enjoyed the company. It was so tough for them to be isolated from their families, but the care home staff were amazing with videocalls on the ipad and lots of digital communication but in person contact is important to all of us
I was sad to say goodbye when we went back to work, but I felt it was the safest thing to do. However I will definitely volunteer again when I have the time and when the restrictions and risks are reduced.

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