ORAL CARE, THE MISSING ELEMENT OF CARE HOMES IN UK?
Oral health plays an important role in the quality of our daily lives, maintaining a healthy relationship with our teeth essentially reduce risks of diseases and pain. By minimizing the oral problem, it reduces the risk of malnutrition and aspiration pneumonia. Even though oral problems have great influences on our lives, most people have little awareness over the oral health guidelines in relation to care homes. Thus, it becomes the care homes’ responsibilities to implement oral protections and services.
In June 2019, CQC published a report on investigating the oral care services among 100 care homes across England. The report states that more than half(57%) of the care homes had no policies to promote oral health, furthermore, 47% of the total staffs served in care home were not trained to support oral healthcare, and 73% of the plans provided by care homes only covers partial or no oral related problems.
The CQC recommends care homes to introduce more guidelines towards oral care. The staff needs to be well trained on oral care, pieces of equipment (such as toothbrush) need to be provided or replaced, and oral health plans need to be implemented in plans. In addition, CQC suggests NHS England for oral health care, which provides routine and emergency treatments to people who need oral health appointments. Director of Bromson Hill Nursing Home Ram Mahendran notes that “people should pay more attention to oral health problems, and as carers, we need to provide various supports to those require dental treatments, from providing monthly change of toothbrush to adding dental services in our caring plan. ”