OHP Success Story – Spring 2023

Sometimes compassion starts with the simplest of things, many of which we take for granted. Think about all the movements we make each day and all the obstacles that we overcome without even realizing it, such as entering a dental office and sitting in a chair. Easy right? Not for everyone. Now try to imagine not being able to do these simple tasks and how that could impact your everyday life. This is our story of how Exceptional Needs Dental Services (ENDS) helped to bring back feelings of independence, happiness, and beautiful smiles to Nehalem Valley Care Center.

With limited resources on the Oregon Coast, Nehalem Valley Care Center found it increasingly difficult to find a dental provider to come into the facility and see the patients who could not physically go into a dental office and were overdue for much needed dental care. After some time, Lori Killen Aus, EPDH, a traveling hygienist for a pre-established patient contacted our care facility and mentioned ENDS.

The ENDS program is a partnership comprised of the following Oregon Dental Care Organizations:

  • Capitol Dental Care
  • CareOregon Dental
  • Willamette Dental


The ENDS staff reached out to our office, and since then, all the residents that had been needing to be seen by a dentist and hygienist have since been seen. The ENDS staff has worked closely with us to overcome scheduling obstacles for dental surgeries, scheduled re-occurring in-house dental and hygiene visits, and even coordinated many residents for preparation and success of receiving dentures.

Many of the residents at Nehalem Valley are re-occurring patients of ENDS and are now seen routinely. They look forward to the visits from the ENDS providers and call and write to family about their beautiful new smiles. The participation in group activities has significantly increased. Some residents have begun taking better care of their oral health each day by brushing. Oral pain reports have nearly diminished and when you walk into activities or to visit one of the residents, they greet you with their big, beautiful smiles – smiles not just from their mouths, but from their eyes and hearts. When residents are informed of the ENDS visiting schedule, they get excited. That feeling is how we all know that ENDS has changed the overwhelming feelings of defeat and community abandonment for the residents at Nehalem Valley by helping bring a sense of compassion, commitment, and a little independence that they know they can rely on.


  • Chandra Fleming, Social Services Director