Checking up on dental services in care homes

We've recently carried out a survey of all the care homes in the county, to find out what their experiences are when their residents need NHS dental treatment.

We've put our findings, including some recommendations for action to improve services, into a report called "Check-up", which you can download below. Before publishing it, we sent it to NHS England (which has responsibility for commissioning dental services), NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and our three local councils, and asked them to respond to our report and our recommendations. Their responses are included in our report.

Some of our key findings

  • 38% of residents of the homes that responded to our survey receive no dental services at all.
  • 59% of the homes that responded said that their residents received poor or average dental services. Issues of concern included long waiting times, a lack of home visits and a lack of services supporting people with dementia.
  • 41% said they received good or excellent services. (All the homes which rated dental services as “excellent” were receiving services from the Browning Centre.
  • Homes reported that the biggest barriers to accessing services were:
    • No home visits available 
    • Long waiting times for appointments 
    • No hoisting facilities at dental premises 
    • No or poor wheelchair access at dental premises 
    • Inability to access emergency dental services 
    • Inability to find dentists taking on new patients 
    • Dentists not willing or not able to treat residents with disabilities 
    • Dentists’ lack of or limited understanding of available carer support when making appointments 
Photo of Dave and Carol

Dave Wood's wife, Carol, lives at Wessex Lodge Care Home in Poole. Carol has Alzheimer's and is unable to walk or talk, so she needs specialist dental treatment which Dave has been trying to find for her.

Dave told us:

It's unbelievable that there isn't a dentist who can come out to the care home. My wife Carol always went to the dentist regularly for check-ups but now that she needs some help, it just isn't there.


Click below to download our report

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