Back to accessibility links

Resi-Dental Care Program

Hunter New England Local Health District
Project Added:
8 April 2013
Last updated:
30 September 2014

Resi-Dental Care Program

Hunter New England Local Health District

Abstract

The Resi-Dental Care Program, based on primary care principles encompasses provision of oral health education for carers and residents and also works collaboratively with private dental practitioners to coordinate and support the provision of dental care in the residential care setting.

Oral disease impacts on general health, causing pain, difficulty eating and quality of life issues. Older people in residential care are especially vulnerable to oral diseases as their ability to maintain oral hygiene lessens.

Access to dental care for residents of aged care facilities is often difficult and complicated. A lack of onsite dental facilities and the complexities of transporting the frail aged to external services often preclude residents from receiving dental treatment. The Resi-Dental Care Program is an initiative of Hunter New England Oral Health Service seeking to improve access to dental care for this sector of the population.

The education and training section of the program provides aged care staff with the tools to perform an oral health assessment, develop an oral health care plan, manage oral hygiene and identify residents requiring dental intervention.

Planning and implementing solutions

People

Providing dental care to the residential aged care sector requires collaboration between residential aged care services and the public and private dental sectors. To establish these links, address the issues regarding the oral health of aged care residents and to develop a model of care for this population, Hunter New England Oral Health Service has established the position of Coordinator Community Aged Care Oral Health Programs.

Equipment

A survey of private dentists indicated their greatest barrier to providing care at aged care facilities was access to dental equipment. Four kits of suitable portable dental equipment have been sourced and purchased for use in aged care facilities. This included working with designers of mobility equipment to modify a reclining wheelchair so that it address the Work Health and Safety issues of dentists when providing dental care away from their well set up dental surgeries.

An instructional DVD has been developed for all participating dentists to view prior to commencing with the program. This DVD covers setting and packing up of equipment, trouble-shooting tips, tips from a special needs dentist on treating the elderly and background information on the Better Oral Health in Residential Care education and training package.

Coordination and Training

A service level agreement has been developed outlining the responsibilities of the aged care facility, HNE Oral Health Service and the participating private dentist.

The program coordinator liaises with the aged care facility and the participating private dental practitioner to ensure all needs are met and the portable dental equipment is available and delivered for the rostered dates.

Each aged care facility is offered support with the implementation of the Commonwealth endorsed education and training package Better Oral Health in Residential Aged Care. This program provides aged care staff with the skills and resources to perform an oral health assessment, develop an oral health care plan, maintain oral health by a simple daily oral hygiene regime and identify residents requiring a referral for a dental care.

Outcomes and Evaluation

Prior to the implementation of the Resi-Dental Care Program the majority of aged care facilities throughout the HNE region received little or no dental services. Some facilities reported local dentists would provide ad-hoc emergency services for those residents unable to be transported to external services. The Resi-Dental Care program aims to provide regular dental services to a facility.

Since the implementation of the Resi-Dental Care Program:

  • 1155 residents from 15 HNE aged care facilities have access to regular onsite dental services
  • 263 examinations and nearly 400 restorations performed
  • These facilities no longer have the difficulties of locating a dentist and transporting residents for care
  • the dentist has access to portable equipment to provide onsite, a full course of care including prevention, early detection and intervention of oral health problems.
  • Over 320 aged care staff from 10 aged care facilities across HNELHD have participated in the Better Oral Health in Residential Care education and training program. Following this training staff become aware of the link between oral health and general health and the impact poor oral health can have on quality of life. 

Graph showing increase in number of residents with access to dental services increasing from under 200 in June 2011 to just under 1200 in June 2012

Conclusion

Given the success to date with this program and the vision of the NSW Centre for Oral Health Strategy for such to be embedded throughout NSW over time with HNE being the LHD leading this program, the current 10 year statewide Strategic Direction for Oral Health 2010-2020 is inclusive of this intent.

Contact


Coordinator Community Aged Care Oral Health Programs
Hunter New England Oral Health
Hunter New England Local Health District
Phone: 02 4016 4844

Search Projects

Browse Projects

Submit your local innovation
and improvement project