NICE oral health guidelines for care homes backed


NICE has published guidelines to improve oral health in care homes

NICE has published new guidance titled Oral health for adults in care homes’, to improve oral health in care homes.

However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been warned that implementing these changes would require funding, along with improvement of the current IT systems for dentistry, which aren’t currently integrated with the rest of the NHS.

‘Older people have well-documented oral health needs, and this will continue to be the case for at least another generation,’ Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA, said.

‘The BDA has published recommendations based on our own research, many of which are reflected in the NICE guidance.

‘Care staff need to be properly trained to adequately look after the dental health needs of residents, and there must be access to dental services when required.

‘Looking after the healthcare needs of vulnerable adults is not simply an issue for care homes, and it should not be left to chance.

‘The government needs to ensure that this guidance is more than aspirational.’

‘Shameful situation’

The BDA has backed the guidelines from NICE claiming dental treatments should be given the same priority as general health.

An investigation carried out by the British Dental Association (BDA) in 2003 and 2012 found that poor or non-existent dental services in care homes can have a devastating effect on the overall health of residents.

‘Little more than 2% of the healthcare budget is spent on dentistry, and commissioning dental services for vulnerable older people is rarely a priority,’ Mick Armstrong continued.

‘It’s time that this shameful situation is reversed.

‘The current dental budget is simply inadequate to provide these patients with the care they need.

‘An increasingly ageing population needs an increasingly targeted budget.

‘This NICE guidance, which is supported by the BDA, aims to remedy, not only a democratic deficit, but a demographic deficit in an attempt to ensure better oral health for all of our patients.’

One comment

  1. 1

    Knowledge Oral Health Care was formulated a year ago, we are a growing group of dental hygienists that go into care homes to provide training in oral care to include the impact poor oral health has systemically and the well being factor that brushing has!
    We carry out a soft tissue screening on residents whereby we write a short report on each resident relaying information to the care manager, giving tips and advice where necessary to staff and/or residents. Thereafter we provide monthly oral healthcare visits, simply removing plaque deposits from dentures and teeth… oral care in its simplest form. It is a sad fact that for some residents this is the only time they get their teeth cleaned.
    Most care homes do not carry out oral care training because it is not a mandatory requirement. We have been giving free talks to care staff which are often poorly attended. Care homes are not interested in paying for training that is not mandatory and until this training is enforced quite frankly care staff, managers will not prioritize oral care. Close the mouth and everything is hidden, lets face it who checks if teeth and/or dentures have been cleaned?
    It is not uncommon for come across residents that have dentures left in the mouth and not cleaned, mounds full of decay and copious amounts of plaque. Of course I should add that some of care staff are very good with oral care but it is unfortunate that they in the general scheme are the minority.
    Attending care homes on a monthly basis we aim to build a rapport with the staff and act to support, help and guide the care staff.
    We have been hoping that Oral care training will become a mandatory requirement because education is where it all starts. We’ll keep ploughing on to help make a difference.

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