How Old Friends Care plan to improve Oral Health in our Community

There is a national focus on Oral Health across care agencies following a CQC review of Care Homes. Read all about how Old Friends Care are raising awareness of this! 

On the 24th of June 2019, the Care Quality Commision published a press release stating that the CQC are expecting care agencies to improve Oral Health on a national basis. Recently, the CQC conducted an extensive review regarding the state of Oral health care in Care Homes across England. The findings from this review are listed below, taken directly from the CQC website:


Although this review is specific to Care Homes - it has also highlighted that domicillary care agencies across the country may be underperforming regarding Oral Care. The recommendations from the CQC include a call for mandatory Staff Training in Oral Care, improved signposting to provide information on local dental services and the implementation of a multi-agnecy organsiation that aim to raise awareness of the importance of Oral Health among those that are living in care homes, their relatives and carers so that the day-to-day quality of dental care is maintained and to ensure that routine check-ups are encouraged. 

Thus, Old Friends Care are adopting a number of measures to ensure that our Service Users are receiving the highest standard of oral care from us and that we are also helping them to arrange routine dental appointments. Old Friends Care will be providing oral care training to all of our carers, we will also be implementing specific questions regarding oral hygiene into our set-up questionnaires for new Service Users and updating our End of Life Questionnaire so that it now includes an entire section on Oral Health for Service Users receiving palliative care.  Our Training Officer, Sarann Maguire has recently completed the NHS E-Learning course Introducing Mouth Care and Sarann is conducting Oral Health Training for our Carers, with the first sessions running on Monday the 9th and Tuesday the 10th of September. We look forward to seeing our staff there and following these two first sessions, photos will be uploaded to our website and our Facebook page to raise awareness of our up-to-date interactive training days! 

Old Friends Care are also publishing this guide to help provide information regarding Oral Health and Dental Hygiene so that our Carers, Service Users and their relatives all have access to this for furture reference. This guide contains a list of common dental problems for both elderly and vulnerable adults, there will also be a section on Tips for Elderly Oral Hygiene and there will be a list of the local dental services in our community. 

An Information Guide on Oral Health related to our Old Friends Care Community

In 2017, Worcestershire County Council published an Oral Health Needs Assessment containing a range of information regarding Oral Health across Worcestershire, with a specific focus on elderly and vulnerable adults. This assessment provides a large array of interesting findings that suggest why Oral Care amongst the Elderly is key in maintaing their dignity and general wellbeing. 

Findings from the 2017 Oral Health Needs Assessment 

Older people are more likely to have an increased rick of dental disease due to several factors. Oral Care is crucial to ensure that people can participate in social aspects of their life without any embaraasment or pain. This maintains their ability to enjoy a balanced and nutritous diet as this contributes hugely to quality of life and general health. 

'As people age, they tend to experience greater exposure of the root surfaces of the teeth due to various factors and the accumulated effects of these over the years' (2017 Oral Health Needs Assessment). In the Adult Dental Health Survey 2009, over 96% of people aged over 65 years, had exposed root surfaces compared to 73% for the general population (The Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2011). 

In addition, there is an increasing number of elderly individuals who are taking multiple medications for various long-term medical conditions. The most common side effect of the most-prescribed medications is dry mouth according to the Assessment report, which can have damaging affects on the oral health of our Service Users. Also, some medications may contain sugars, which contributes to the deterioration of dental health. 

Furthermore, older people with functional limitations may not be able to attend dental practices or appointments without adequate transportation arrangements, or sit in a dental chair for a long period of time. Also, Dementia is recorded to affect one person in six over the age of 80. This has implications for the treatment and examiantion of individuals who may lack the capacity to consent to dental interventions, who may not have the ability to cooperate feelings of pain or follow a recommended dental routine. Thus, some Service Users may be dependent upon carers to arrange their appointments on their behalf and so this is something that Old Friends Care will be willing to help with, we can provide advice and aid in making arrangements for our Service Users so that their dental health is well maintained. 

For a list of Dentist's and the services they provide in Redditch, please follow this link