NICE oral health guidelines for care homes backed
However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been warned that implementing these changes would require funding, along with improvement of the current IT systems for dentistry, which aren’t currently integrated with the rest of the NHS.
‘Older people have well-documented oral health needs, and this will continue to be the case for at least another generation,’ Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA, said.
‘The BDA has published recommendations based on our own research, many of which are reflected in the NICE guidance.
‘Care staff need to be properly trained to adequately look after the dental health needs of residents, and there must be access to dental services when required.
‘Looking after the healthcare needs of vulnerable adults is not simply an issue for care homes, and it should not be left to chance.
‘The government needs to ensure that this guidance is more than aspirational.’
The BDA has backed the guidelines from NICE claiming dental treatments should be given the same priority as general health.
An investigation carried out by the British Dental Association (BDA) in 2003 and 2012 found that poor or non-existent dental services in care homes can have a devastating effect on the overall health of residents.
‘Little more than 2% of the healthcare budget is spent on dentistry, and commissioning dental services for vulnerable older people is rarely a priority,’ Mick Armstrong continued.
‘It’s time that this shameful situation is reversed.
‘The current dental budget is simply inadequate to provide these patients with the care they need.
‘An increasingly ageing population needs an increasingly targeted budget.
‘This NICE guidance, which is supported by the BDA, aims to remedy, not only a democratic deficit, but a demographic deficit in an attempt to ensure better oral health for all of our patients.’