The CQC has today released a review of oral health and dental care provided to those in care homes. The report concludes that this is poorly implemented in care homes. The review is based on 100 visits to different care homes by dental inspectors and oral health specialists.
There are specific NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines to cover dental care for persons living in residential care but in the majority of cases these were not being followed. Residents generally had their oral health assessed upon admission, but often care home staff were not aware of the NICE guidelines and had not had specific training on oral health. More worryingly, over half of the care homes surveyed had no policy to promote oral health, and nearly three quarters of the care plans reviews did not cover oral health or only partly covered it.
The CQC comment in the foreword to the report highlights the fact that the elderly of today generally are more likely to retain their teeth than earlier generations. Good oral care is essential for those in care homes to reduce pain and reduce the risk of malnutrition. Oral care was also often not joined up meaning that when emergency dental treatment was required, the homes would call a GP, or 111, or send the person to A&E – thereby placing a strain on already overworked services.
The care sector should carefully consider this report with a view to future policies and management of residents’ oral health otherwise this may be an area that residents and families focus upon in terms of claiming for damages.
The CQC’s report can be found here: https://www.cqc.org.uk/publications/major-report/smiling-matters-oral-health-care-care-homes
Written by Jennifer Johnston at BLM