An innovative event tackling oral health and dementia took place in Plymouth when Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE) staff joined teams from Health Education England; Public Health England; Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine & Dentistry; Nash & Co Solicitors to form part of this specialist event.
The training course for dental teams, including dentists, nurses, hygienists, practice managers and receptionists, was delivered by Ian Sherriff, Academic Partnership Lead for Dementia at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, supported by a multi-disciplinary team. Ian is Chair of the Prime Minister’s Rural Dementia group, and one of a handful of people appointed to a national panel to improve support for people with dementia.
Ian was joined by Professor Val Mann and Helen Philips, (both University of Plymouth), Hilary Cragg (Nash and Co), Dorothy Tudor (retired nurse and carer to partner, Bob) and Wendy Smith and Karen Burn (Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise).
The aim of this Health Education England event was to provide guidance for dental teams around the management of dental care for people living with dementia.
The programme for the day included interactive and practical training sessions on oral health and dementia with the aim of improving the general experience of people living with dementia and their carers when attending a dental practice. Participants were also awarded “dementia friend” badges.
The event demonstrated the commitment of the local dental community to supporting people with dementia and followed Plymouth’s success at the Alzheimer’s Society awards in 2016, when the city received the Dementia Friendly Community of the Year Award (City).
Paul Harwood, Dental Public Health Consultant for Public Health England South West, said: “The concept of poor oral health in people living with dementia is often overlooked, but has serious consequences.
“People living with dementia tend to have worse oral health and greater treatment need, yet access care less frequently than the general population.
“Oral and general health and wellbeing are inextricably linked with impacts on diet and nutrition, behaviour and quality of life.”
Ian Sherriff added: “It is vital that health care professionals receive this sort of training, so that when they are presented with patients with dementia they fully understand the condition and what needs to be done to treat those patients effectively. This is a great opportunity to bring our training to wider dental teams in the area.”