Leading dental health organisation, the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT), has welcomed new quality standards released by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which focus on improving the oral health care of adults that move into care homes1.
The new guidelines outline the importance of assessing each new resident’s oral health care needs on admission and furthermore, recording their oral health care needs in their personal plan to ensure they are continually reviewed.
The BSDHT fully supports the new NICE guidance as the organisation believes they are a vital part of providing effective oral health for adults in care homes.
President of the BSDHT, Helen Minnery, commented on the importance of the NICE standards: “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.
“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 which has been continually lacking and are delighted by this movement.
“With a lack of guidance and support for the oral health of many care home residents the likelihood of developing serious oral health problems is dangerously high. Without basic care oral health can quickly decline, this often leads to problems being able to eat and drink properly and therefore a person’s nutrition can suffer.
“This needs to start as soon as a person enters residential care when a comprehensive and accurate oral health care assessment is undertaken.
“Some oral health problems have also been linked to serious systemic diseases and complications with existing conditions too, such as heart disease and diabetes. For elderly people in a care environment poor oral health provision can have disastrous, long term effects.
“These guidelines will provide a huge boost for our members who will now have a better opportunity to help residents prevent totally avoidable oral health problems and also help provide a crucial initial assessment and subsequent care plan.
“We will be advising our members to form strong links with local care homes around the UK to ensure we can effectively deliver this much-needed care.
“It is important to understand that this is ongoing care, there is no quick fix but these guidelines are a great step forward, one which will help to provide people in care homes with the oral health care that they desperately need and have perhaps been denied of in the past.”
1. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence: Oral health in care homes (2107) [QS151], available online at https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs151
The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is a nationally recognised body that represents over 4,000 Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists across the UK and beyond.
BSDHT maintain an on-going dialogue with the General Dental Council (GDC), the Departments of Health and all of the main groups representing dental care professionals, and attends meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dentistry, bringing dental hygiene and therapy to the attention of government ministers and MP’s.
Visit www.bsdht.org.uk for more information.
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