The quality and availability of oral healthcare for older adults remains an issue, and insufficient priority is being given to making improvements, the British Dental Association (BDA) has warned in a new report published today (10 January 2012).
The report says that many older adults’ health and wellbeing is under-served and that concerns remain about provision in the future. It also argues that oral health is often not properly considered in wider healthcare provision and, as a result, that many patients simply don’t get the care they need. Furthermore, the report warns, the aging demographic of the population of Britain means that new challenges will emerge; including a significant increase in demand for restorative dental treatment.
The report provides a progress check on 21 recommendations for improving oral care for older people published in a BDA report of 2003. Just six of those recommendations have been met in full, today’s report says. Amongst the challenges yet to be confronted are inadequate information about patient charge exemptions, the inability of dentists to prescribe artificial saliva except in certain circumstances and the continued absence of a commissioning framework that properly takes account of older patients’ needs.
Today’s report sets out twelve priorities for reform including the provision of free, comprehensive oral health assessments for over-60s, better integration of health and social services and the establishment of basic standards for care with which care homes should be obliged to comply….read more
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