Most orthodontists in Ireland will be aware of the recent media coverage relating to patients of an orthodontic practice being left without ongoing treatment and the request for local orthodontists to help in the provision of future care. We appreciate the challenges that transfer of orthodontic care mid-treatment can bring and this is a scenario that has prompted questions from orthodontists previously. We hope that the below information is of help when considering taking on the transfer of patients.
One of the main questions that orthodontists ask when involved in taking on orthodontic care mid-treatment is about their position in the event there is a challenge in future regarding the outcome of the treatment. As an orthodontist, you would become responsible for the ongoing care of a patient from the point you take on the patient’s care. Therefore, it is important to ensure that a clear record exists of an orthodontic assessment at the time you first see the patient, along with a reassessment of the treatment goals and your treatment plan to achieve these.
At the point of transfer, it is also important that a patient fully understands the proposals for future treatment, any alternative treatment options as well as the risks and benefits of the options available. The clinical records should contain details of what was discussed which will help to demonstrate that the patient’s consent to ongoing treatment was valid.
The following additional points may help in the smooth transfer of patient care and treatment.