CQC inspections will add bite to oral care standards

The CQC has pledged to “step up focus on oral care in future inspections, after routine inspections in 100 homes found that care home residents are not supported to maintain and improve their oral health.

To help care homes, Care Home Management will have a focus on oral health in its July/August issue, which publishes from next week.

In a new report, it finds that most homes (52) had no policy to promote and protect people’s oral health. In addition:

  • nearly half were not training staff to support daily oral healthcare (47 per cent)
  • 73 per cent of care plans reviewed only partly covered or did not cover oral health
  • it could be difficult for residents to access dental care
  • 10 per cent of homes had no way to access emergency dental treatment for residents.

The report makes six recommendations for priority action:

  • People who use services, their families and carers need to be made more aware of the importance of oral care
  • Care home services need to make awareness and implementation of Nice guideline NG48
  • Care home staff need better training in oral care
  • The dental profession needs improved guidance on how to treat people in care homes
  • Dental provision and commissioning needs to improve to meet the needs of people in care homes
  • Nice guideline NG48 needs to be used more in regulatory and commissioning assessments.

Kate Terroni, new CQC chief inspector of adult social care, said: “Good oral health care must not stop once a person enters a home. Good oral care helps keep people free from pain – especially important for those who have communication difficulties, who may find it difficult to alert others to where it hurts.”

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