William Eichler 24 June 2019

Cuts impacting on oral health in care homes, council chiefs warn

Cuts impacting on oral health in care homes, council chiefs warn image

Care home residents are not supported to ‘maintain and improve’ their oral health, the national health and social care regulator has revealed.

A new report from the Care Quality Commission has found that out of 100 care homes inspected 52% had no policy to promote and protect people’s oral health.

The CQC inspectors, who were accompanied by dental professionals, also learnt that nearly half of the care homes inspected (47%) were not training staff to support daily oral healthcare.

The regulator also found that the majority of care plans did not deal with oral health sufficiently. Around 73% of the plans reviewed ‘only partly covered’ or ‘did not cover’ oral health.

Around 10% of homes had no way to access emergency dental treatment for residents.

Responding to the findings, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said that funding cuts had impacted on oral health.

‘Health professionals and social care providers are trained to recognise and deal with dental health issues in older people, but need to continue to work together to ensure improvements in oral healthcare,’ said Cllr Hudspeth.

‘Good care costs money and adult social care is at breaking point, facing a £3.6bn funding gap by 2025,’ he continued.

‘Public health funding for councils, used to fund schemes such as tooth brushing in domiciliary care and preventive schemes in care homes, has been cut by £700m over the last five years.

‘Continued funding pressures for providers and commissioners will inevitably have an impact on care and training for staff, while access to an NHS dentist remains a challenge for many.’

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