Care homes hit dental hygiene heights

Date published: 25 February 2020

Care homes across the borough of Rochdale have received oral hygiene ratings as part of an innovative rating scheme.

Five-star ratings have been awarded to 25 care homes so far with others encouraged to strive for the achievement.

The ratings reflect the homes’ dedication to looking after their residents’ oral hygiene and the services they have in place.

The scheme was created by RIS Healthcare, who deliver the oral health for the elderly programme, training and support across the borough of Rochdale. The programme enables care homes to look after residents’ oral hygiene by improving staff knowledge and skills.

Oral hygiene can be a major contributor to serious ill health in older people and the cause of multiple emergency hospital admissions that could be avoided.

Jamie Lee Aughey, deputy manager at Stansfield Hall Care Home, says the benefits of the scheme have exceeded expectations: “We have not had a chest infection in the home for the last eight months. This used to be a common occurrence and in a way has become non-existent.

“Since the training each member of our team has really taken the time to focus on oral hygiene with our residents and the health benefits from this have been fascinating.”

Dr Aggy York, clinical lead for primary care at HMR Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There are numerous studies linking poor oral hygiene to aspiration pneumonia. Cleaning the teeth, mouth, tongue and palate, not only reduces harmful bacteria but it also helps produce saliva and improve swallowing which makes inhalation of bacteria much less likely.”

The rating scheme considers staff training, effective identification of problems, and oral care plans for residents.

Councillor Sara Rowbotham, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Oral hygiene is so important in older age, it can impact people’s ability to eat, drink and talk so it’s great to see homes treating oral hygiene as a vital area of care.

“Congratulations to the care homes and well done to the RIS team for implementing such an innovative scheme in our borough.”

Training of staff in care homes across the borough has been taking place since December 2018. There are 41 care homes for older people in the borough with a total of 1,433 residents.

All care homes have oral hygiene champions who ensure that new staff are shown how to clean the mouths of residents.

The focus on oral hygiene in care homes is the first of its kind in Greater Manchester. Further stages of the training programme have trained nurses and supported staff at Springhill Hospice and Rochdale Infirmary.

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