There has been a recent outcry from health and social care providers that it is near to impossible to get NHS dental services when residents require them.
According to the Manager of an Essex care home, they have had to rely on their own internal procedures to ensure that the health of their residents doesn’t deteriorate further due to the shortage of dentists. Despite staff being very close with residents, sometimes other overarching health conditions, such as dementia, make it difficult to know when residents are in pain. There is also a higher risk of life-threatening infection in the elderly that can result from poor dental hygiene. That home’s owner has suggested that families look into private dentists.
This has apparently been an ongoing concern at this and other services for over 10 years.
In addition to this, it has also been reported that 25% of providers have said that patients were denied dental care.
Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust says that it is considering a few approaches to resolve the issue. The Department of Health and Social Care has also said that it is working towards a solution by investing £3 billion a year into NHS dental care.
In the short term, providers will want to ensure that they are doing all they can to maintain and improve the oral health of their residents. This will include robust documentation of symptoms as well as thorough record keeping of communication with external healthcare professionals and discussions with families and residents.