Reintegrating seriously mentally ill people into society is a mission to which SUS is constantly dedicated. To this end, the Maceió Municipal Health Department (SMS) has the Residential Therapeutic Service (SRT) – therapeutic housing or simply ‘housing’. More than just a place to live, the therapeutic housing has ensured more health and dignity for patients through dental service in the health units of the municipality close to these places.
To provide a new smile to patients in residential settings, the Department of Oral Health and Psychosocial Care SMS participated in meetings and webinars earlier this year, where they were able to discuss strategies for providing humane oral health care to this audience.
SMS’s Director of Oral Health, Ducy Farias, highlights the importance of strengthening dental care in the primary care of people with serious mental disorders.
It’s a joint effort. Oral health and mental health professionals unite to assist patients in therapeutic accommodations and provide them with the best possible dental service. The first gateway for patients with mental disorders is primary care, and welcoming everyone without exception is a very big step forward. This is a special audience, for whom it is necessary to take special care. But it was a successful experience, as almost all patients benefit from the service.
During medical consultations, patients in therapeutic residences can receive tooth extractions, restorations, tartar scraping, cleanings, and fluoride application, among other procedures. Service is available for this audience at Basic Health Unit (UBS) Maria Tereza Holanda (Ouro Preto), UBS José Tenório (Serraria), Family Health Unit (USF) Paulo Oliveira Costa/UDA Cesmac (Farol) and USF São Vicente de Paula (Farol), The dentists in each unit perform dental treatment in a humane and continuous manner, according to the needs of each patient.
For Roseanne Farias, Director of SMS Psychosocial Care, people with severe mental disorders can and should benefit from all services, like any other citizen.
“The partnership with Saúde Oral has been very important, including demystifying the idea that people with more serious mental disorders are unable to sit in the dentist’s chair and undergo a procedure. Therefore, this experience was the result of a lot of guidance given to professionals in the units so that this audience could be involved in the dental office. In addition, it shows us that people with a serious mental disorder can and should move in services to carry out health procedures just like any other individual,” he affirms.
“It is important to respect each person’s time. On the day when the patient is not ready for the operation, the appointment is rescheduled. For us, the Department of Psychiatric Care is a step forward, this work has provided access to health care for these people, who have lived for many years in psychiatric hospitals, and thus suffered harm to health, ”he adds.
Place of reintegration and reception
In addition to being a place to live, Therapeutic Residences (RTs) have the mission of preparing their patients for reintegration into a normal routine. In these settings, patients who have been discharged for long periods of time in psychiatric hospitals receive the necessary care until they can regain their dignity.
Currently, Maceió has seven healing residences, which house a total of 70 users of Dr. José López de Mendonca and Miguel Cotto, also from Portugal Ramalho Hospital. The residences are part of the municipality’s psychosocial care network, which is managed – through a cooperation agreement – by the Association of Users and Families of Mental Health Services of Alagoas (ASUMA).
In each department there is a work team consisting of carers, cooks, nursing technicians and nurses who are involved in the daily development of tasks. Continuous clinical and psychological follow-up is done by the Centers for Psychological and Social Care (CAPS).
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