CDS toolkit improves oral health in Oxfordshire’s care residents

Vulnerable adults living in care settings and within their own homes are benefitting from improved oral health, thanks to a CDS online toolkit, created in collaboration with Oxfordshire County Council.

Carers in and around Oxfordshire are improving their skills in looking after resident’s oral health, the regular recording of mouth checks and the knowledge needed of when to report concerns, all thanks to the toolkit available to them.

Working together since 2015, Oxfordshire County Council has worked with CDS to deliver their online toolkit. Charlotte Iddon, Oral Health Improvement Manager, is grateful CDS launched the provision in January. “Making sure carers and vulnerable adults are supported is our priority. Backing the 2016 NICE Guidelines 48 on oral health for adults in care homes, our toolkit trains the carers who are then able to record daily mouth assessments and become aware of issues that need reporting for further dental intervention”.

Charlotte explained that some resident’s health conditions can make caring for their oral health difficult, but the toolkit breaks down the oral care into manageable daily, and weekly checks. “If good oral health isn’t followed, it needs only a few days before it can contribute to serious health complications. Our Level 1 training, via the toolkit, focuses on what a healthy mouth is and should look like and by using our check lists, carers can spot problems or pain and report these before they become serious. CDS also provides free Level 2 training for deeper learning and a Level 3 Accreditation programme for care homes to become tooth friendly and aware”.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need to make sure all carers are proficient in effective oral health care and that all residents are given vital daily mouth care support. The online tool kit is available free to all carers; in care homes, in agencies and people caring for loved ones at home. Those with a pass rate of over 80% receive a Level 1 understanding and certificate in oral health.

CDS is commissioned for a further 5 years, during which time Charlotte sees the continuation of the promotion of the toolkit with the hope of all carers undertaking the valued training and all new carers completing it as part of their induction.