MercyCare has partnered with the Kimberley Dental Team (KDT) to deliver a West Australian first - a dental health trial at our residential aged care facility.
The trial, which began in February, provides dental assessments and ongoing dental care to twenty of our residents through a mobile service.
The aim of the trial is to bridge the gap in dental care provided to elderly people in residential aged care. Several recent Australian studies have shown significant disparities in the oral health of older people living in care facilities, which is particularly concerning given dental disease is on the increase in Australia’s ageing population.
Oral diseases commonly affect frail and dependent, older adults living in our community with the effects often becoming exacerbated following admission into residential aged care. These diseases can significantly impact on elderly peoples’ eating ability, diet, weight, speech, hydration, behaviour, appearance and social interactions.
"Through our patient-centred model of care, which focuses on prevention and education and by using flexible and adaptable methods of service delivery, we hope to provide much needed services for the elderly and in so doing, improve the quality of life of aged care residents" said KDT Senior Dental Officer and Director Dr Jilen Patel.
The KDT is a not-for-profit organisation of volunteer dental and allied health professionals committed to providing high quality dental treatment and education to people who are disadvantaged by barriers such as decreased access to care, remoteness, cost and social adversity.
MercyCare Chief Executive Officer Chris Hall said the KDT’s mission closely aligned with MercyCare’s own mission to break cycles of significant disadvantage.
"We are delighted to be taking part in the KDT trial because dental health care can sometimes fall by the wayside for elderly people for a number of reasons – so the benefits of a regular treatment and care plan could have wide-reaching impacts on the general wellbeing of our residents," he said.
"This is an initiative which may have a significant impact on the wider residential aged care sector across Western Australia. We will be supporting and watching the trial with interest."