Can we do anything about the looming oral health care crisis in Canadian Long-Term Care facilities?
If we are to believe an article that appeared recently in the New York Times titled “In Nursing Homes, An Epidemic of Poor Oral Hygiene”, many of the oral health care needs of residents of long term care facilities (LTCs) in the US are not being met. It is probably fair to assume that many of the same needs are going unmet in Canada
In order to find out what the Canadian Dental Association is doing about this looming “epidemic” in Canada, I spoke recently with Dr. Mitch Taillon, a member of the CDA Board of Directors, who also chairs the CDA Access to Care Working Group.
You can see a video of that interview at the link below.
The main points from the interview are:
- CDA is aware of the issue and we have gathered information about the problems and proposed solutions in different parts of the country.
- There are parts of the country where services are better than others and we are advocating for a harmony of service levels around the country.
- The CDA Committee on Clinical & Scientific Affairs has created a number of pertinent documents including one titled “Optimal health for frail older adults…”
- In 2010, CDA published an official position statement about access to oral health care for Canadians.
- In 2011, CDA made improving access to care a top priority project.
- The CDA Access to Care Working Group has commissioned a document containing suggested draft legislation that if implemented would ensure a level of comprehensive oral health care for residents of LTCs.
- CDA is working to support the advocacy efforts of the provincial and territorial associations in this area, through providing the draft legislation document and by providing government and media relations training for representative dentists to carry the advocacy message to decision makers in provincial, territorial and local jurisdictions.
- Because “all politics is local” individual dentists can play a big role in reducing the burden of dental disease in LTCs. Dr. Taillon urges dentists to get involved with their provincial and local dental societies’ efforts to advocate for optimal oral health care for seniors.
Watch the video
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