The Smiling for Posterity Program – Goals and Objectives
The Smiling for Posterity Program offers comprehensive dental diagnosis and intervention to local, needy senior citizens at a nominal fee. Our patients, faced with rising food, utility, and transportation expenses, simply could not otherwise afford to make what are – for most of us – routine visits to the dentist. Patients receive transportation subsidies when necessary, thereby mitigating the problem of accessibility
From its inception in 2008, Smiling for Posterity has operated out of a clinic located in downtown Jerusalem, featuring state-of-the-art equipment as well as an in-house dental laboratory.
According to the Sarah Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel’s foremost provider of health care for the elderly, the need for geriatric dental care in Israel is rising. The over 75 sector of the population is rapidly expanding, and as people keep their teeth longer, their requirements for specialized and expert dental treatment is growing in parallel.
Common chronic diseases and associated medications can have a deleterious impact on an older person’s oral health. Moreover, poor oral health can impinge on overall well being. In the elderly, this is often manifested as nutritional disorders, since facial pain caused by infection, trauma, or ill-fitting appliances may have a profound effect on food and fluid intake.
The statistics are not encouraging. According to the Israel National Insurance Institute’s 2009 poverty report, which was issued in late 2010, an increase in pension payments and more employment opportunities for older people resulted in a slight decline in the incidence of poverty compared to the previous year. Yet over 20 percent of Israeli seniors still live below the poverty line. Moreover, the situation of the aforementioned 20 percent has deteriorated, in terms of the depth and severity of their poverty.
In Jerusalem, the country’s most deprived city, the older population is extremely disadvantaged. The Jerusalem Municipality’s Department of Social Services currently serves nearly 24,000 senior citizens, representing one third of the city’s elderly population.
Your support would enable HCS to provide vital dental services. Your generosity will enable Jerusalem’s seniors who could not otherwise afford dental treatment to receive the critical care they need
Since our founding in 1983 we have helped thousands of elderly residents.
Since its establishment in 1983, the nonprofit Health and Community Service Center has provided dental treatment at the lowest possible cost to disadvantaged populations in Jerusalem. A staff of 14 dentists – all highly skilled, experienced, and licensed by the Israel Ministry of Health – 9 dental assistants, and 2 hygienists treat thousands of patients each month.
Smiling for Posterity
When Smiling for Posterity was initiated in 2008, services were provided absolutely free of charge. However, the Center’s staff discovered that patient satisfaction and compliance – particularly with fitted dentures – rose once they were responsible for partial payment. The current policy is to charge patients twenty percent of services rendered.
Smiling for Posterity is implemented through close collaboration with the Jerusalem Department of Social Services. Signed, numbered vouchers are distributed by the Department’s professional social workers to elderly individuals from their caseload. During the patient’s first visit to the clinic, the attending dentist conducts an initial examination, takes x-rays, and formulates a treatment plan that covers all indicated treatments, including but certainly not limited to the provision of crowns, dentures, and even implants. Each patient is automatically entered into the HCS database for routine dental check-ups.
Of particular importance, HCS employs several dental technicians specializing in dentures and one of the staff dentists has acquired expertise in implant surgery, a vital step in installing lower dentures, which require real teeth as anchors. The Center has procured the specialized equipment necessary to perform this complicated procedure and offers the surgery at about half the market price.
The most valid means of assessing the overall success and effectiveness of the program is to solicit information from the elderly patients and their families, who are periodically asked to complete a survey regarding their experience at the clinic. To ease the transition for patients, many of whom have rarely, if ever, visited the dentist and are understandably anxious, the clinic has developed new forms that provide incoming patients with an explanation of the benefits of their participation in the Smiling for Posterity program.
Internally, the program’s supervisory dentist goes over every single patient card and treatment plan to ensure that all diagnostic examinations and interventions are implemented at the highest standard. He also inspects the laboratory, checking each pair of dentures and each bridge to ensure that measurements were taken correctly.
HCS Smiling for Posterity program is kindly requesting gifting at an average cost of $3000 per patient to provide vital dental treatment to indigent senior citizens,.