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9th February 2015

Dental healthcare funding boost includes £320,000 for older people in care homes

The Welsh Government has announced it will boost funding for oral healthcare services for older people by £700,000, with £320,000 of it targeted improving dental care for those in care homes.

The other £370,000 of the funding, spread over the next two years, will go towards improving dental healthcare for people with disabilities and complex health conditions.

There are around 23,000 older people resident in care homes in Wales at any one time (according to CSSIW figures from September 2014). Many residents have poor or inadequate oral health when they move to their care home, often as a result of deteriorating health and mobility during the preceding years.

Improving older people's oral health was one of the issues highlighted in the Older People's Commissioner's recent 'A Place To Call Home?' report. It recognised the importance of oral hygiene and the need for "timely and appropriate dental care for older people in care homes throughout Wales".

In an announcement on February 9, deputy health minister, Vaughan Gething (pictured below), said: "We have been clear about the need to improve oral health across Wales. This investment is targeted at vulnerable people who are not able to access conventional community dental care services.

“People who have disabilities or complex medical conditions need dental services, which are suitable for their needs, including appropriately trained and equipped dental teams.”

He added: “With this funding, we will improve access to special care dentistry services across Wales and ensure there is a consistent approach to dental healthcare for people in care homes.”

What this means for oral healthcare in care homes

  • As part of the funding to improve oral health for older people in care homes, care homes will be required to have a mouth care policy and at least one named oral care champion, responsible for promoting best practice.
  • All residents will have an oral risk assessment carried out by qualified care home staff within the first seven days of moving to the home and at appropriate agreed intervals afterwards.

Read more on this story

WalesOnline: Welsh Government to invest £700,000 for oral healthcare for older people in Wales

Welsh Government: Investment in improved access to dental health for older people

Welsh Health Circular 2015 -001

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