Better access to dental treatment for care home residents needed

Better access to dental treatment for care home residents needed

Residents in Oxfordshire’s care homes need better access to dentistry services, a new report by Healthwatch Oxfordshire has found. They found that those in care homes face many hurdles in obtaining access to a dentist. The watchdog is calling for better access to dental treatment for such residents in their county.

Healthwatch Oxfordshire found that care home residents face a number of hurdles in obtaining access to a dentist, including:

  • a lack of NHS dentists visiting care homes,
  • poor physical access at some dental surgeries,
  • lack of transport and staff to take residents to the dentist, and
  • a feeling by some care home managers that some dentists are unwilling or unhappy to treat patients with dementia or a learning disability.

As a result of the findings, the watchdog is calling for a number of improvements, including better access to dentists in care homes for residents who cannot easily visit surgeries, better dementia training for dentists, and more information available to care homes about the dental services that are available.

Rosalind Pearce, Executive Director of Healthwatch Oxfordshire, said: “Our research has shown that an alarmingly high proportion of care home residents never see a dentist. This is unacceptable. As a result, we will be asking a number of bodies, including NHS England Commissioners, the county council, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Oxfordshire Local Dental Committee, to take action. Access to dentistry should be a fundamental right for everyone.  People living in  in care homes must not be excluded.”

The full report can be accessed at Healthwatch Oxfordshire’s website at https://healthwatchoxfordshire.co.uk/our-reports/healthwatch-oxfordshire-reports/

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