Healthwatch Derbyshire, the county’s
independent health and social care watchdog, has highlighted several issues in
oral hygiene for older people and those with a learning disability living in
residential care across Derbyshire.
Healthwatch Derbyshire visited a number
of care homes in the county in October 2018 and spoke to 181 residents/clients
aged between 21 to 104 – including people living with dementia and those with
learning disabilities -as well as 120 care home staff.
This issue was originally highlighted
by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which regulates health and social care
services, and a request for further insight into this issue was made of the
The Healthwatch Derbyshire team found
• The majority of residents last visited
a dentist over two years ago, mainly due to local dental services not offering
visits to the home
• The majority of staff had not received
any formal training to support residents with their oral hygiene
• There were delays in residents
receiving the treatment they required from a dentist.
A report of their findings and
recommendations has been sent through to commissioners of health and care
services to highlight where improvements could be made with oral hygiene
oral hygiene training for care staff to support people living with
dementia and those with learning disabilities
delays in accessing treatment from local dental providers for
residents/clients within care homes, including those with dementia and/or
raising around the importance of good oral hygiene with residents/clients
of care homes, including those with dementia and/or learning disabilities.
Furthermore, Healthwatch Derbyshire
will incorporate oral hygiene as a topic in their Enter and View visits to care
homes in order to monitor future improvements and issues.
Healthwatch Derbyshire CEO Karen
Ritchie said: “According to Department of Health (2011), maintaining good oral
hygiene is crucial as it not only has an impact on an individual’s ability to
eat, speak and socialise, but can also help to prevent conditions such as mouth
cancer and cardiovascular disease.
“The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has
identified the oral hygiene of care home residents, both older people and those
with a learning disability, to be an issue across the UK.
“The issue may be due to a multitude of
factors for example training, resident resistance or lack of involvement from
the health sector.
“We will be working with health and
social care commissioners and providers moving forward to see what can be done
to improve this situation and will continue to feedback our findings to the