The focus on Oral Health has risen quite considerably since the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published their findings of an in-depth review on the state of oral health care in care homes across England.
The review followed one hundred inspections of care homes on which CQC inspectors were accompanied by inspectors from dental regulation. It revealed that three years on from the publication of NICE guidance on oral health, people are still not receiving the oral health care they need to ensure that they are pain-free and that their dignity is respected.
The Key findings of the review included…
- The majority (52%) of care homes visited had no policy to promote and protect people’s oral health
- Nearly half (47%) of care homes were not providing any staff training to support people’s daily oral healthcare
- 73% of residents’ care plans we reviewed only partly covered or did not cover oral health at all – homes looking after people with dementia being the most likely to have no plan in place.
- 17% of care homes said they did not assess people’s oral health on admission
Despite these statistics, there is still a large number of providers that are not giving Oral Health the priority it deserves. Here are a few tips to help with Oral Health compliance:
- Have a dedicated Oral Health Policy and ensure it’s communicated to all members of staff
- Provide training – the nature of the training is suitable for online/distance learning
- Check Competence – Training doesn’t necessarily prove competence – make sure that learning is being applied in practice
- Assessment – include Oral Health needs during the assessment and review progress regularly
- Provide information – Awareness and Education is an essential part of good Oral Health
A multi-disciplinary approach is a key facet to good oral health management as Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) pointed out by saying:
“Care home managers must recognise the significance of oral health – and professionals including GPs, dentists, dental hygienists and community nurses need to work together to elevate the importance of oral health in care homes and to prioritise this as part of their work”.