In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Heartland Alliance Health (HAH) aligned with multiple residential sites serving people experiencing homelessness and people with substance use disorders to expand access to oral health services for their residents through site-based outreach.The HAH Shelter-Based Oral Health pilot program aims to improve the oral health of individuals experiencing homelessness and increase access to oral health services and other services addressing social determinants of health. The pilot program aims to do this by establishing stronger partnerships with residential sites and providing on-site dental services. The long-term goals of the program are to increase knowledge for medical providers to successfully implement and deliver on-site oral health care and continue developing strategic alignment between Heartland Alliance Health and residential sites.
Recognizing the importance of program implementation in effective service delivery, the evaluation of the Oral Health Service followed the World Health Organization's Implementation Framework. To understand how the service was operationalized, the outcome variables of acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, feasibility, fidelity, coverage and sustainability were assessed. Research questions were developed within each of the overarching outcome variables, sourced from relevant literature and the HAH Oral Health Logic Model (Appendix A). The logic model was co-developed by the research team, HAH Oral Health staff, and outreach partner staff. Specifically, the research questions for this report focus on the implementation of the Oral Health Service based on identified short- and mid- term outcomes.