The CQCs new report Smiling matters - Oral health in care homes shows what they found from a review on the state of oral health care in care homes across England.
Between October 2018 and January 2019 their dental inspectors attended 100 care homes inspections and spoke to many members of staff, people who use services and their families.
The report is what they found on those inspections, which includes examples of good, joined-up practice between care homes and dentists, although this was not common. This comes three years after the publication of NICE guidance on oral health in care homes.
Key findings include:
- The majority (52%) of care homes visited had no policy to promote and protect people’s oral health
- 73% of residents’ care plans we reviewed only partly covered or did not cover oral health at all – homes looking after people with dementia being the most likely to have no plan in place
- Nearly half (47%) of care homes were not providing any staff training to support people’s daily oral healthcare
- 17% of care homes said they did not assess people’s oral health on admission
The report includes six recommendations and calls for a cross-sector approach to overcome concerns raised through this review. The recommendations also include a call for mandatory staff training in oral care, oral health check-ups for all residents upon admission, better signposting to local dental services and the convening of a multi-agency group tasked with raising awareness among people living in care homes, their families and carers of the importance of day-to-day dental hygiene and the need for routine check-ups.