care homesA new Healthwatch report has found that some care homes are providing insufficient support to access dentists.

In the report inspectors visited 197 care homes across England and found that eight had difficulty getting access to a dentist, with one resident saying ‘Dentist refuse (sic) to do home visit unless private. Unfair to residents that have to suffer’.

‘This report is a wake-up call for health ministers, commissioners and industry bosses,’ Michael Cranfield, chair of the BDA’s England Community Dental Services Committee, said.

‘Dentistry is too often the missing piece in care homes, and no one seems to be taking any responsibility for it.

‘We keep seeing vulnerable residents with dentures that have never been taken out, and managers who admit oral health is at the bottom of their to-do lists.

‘This isn’t rocket science.

‘Staff need training, and residents need access to regular check-ups.’

Regular visits

Only one care home reported that a dentist regularly comes to visit the home, the study also found.

This is despite the report stating that one of the quality indicators to a good care home should be ensuring residents can see health professionals, such as dentists, regularly.

The report found many examples of good care but concluded that many homes staff were ‘rushed off their feet’ leaving residents to pick up the strain.

Guidelines

NICE has recently launched new quality guidelines to make sure oral health needs are at the focus of care home residents’ care.

The new guidelines will ensure more than 425,000 people living in care homes around the UK are supported to clean their teeth twice a day.

‘These guidelines are a massive step in the right direction to ensure that people in care homes receive the oral health care they need and deserve,’ president of the BSDHT, Helen Minnery, said when the plans were launched.

‘We feel that there has previously been a lack of effective support and guidance in this area, which has led to many care home residents not getting the support they need.

‘At the BSDHT we strongly believe that this is an area of the care system that has been continually lacking and are delighted by this movement.’