The ADA, in partnership with Alzheimer's Australia, has taken an important step today in readying the dental profession for the changing face of dentistry with the launch of Partnership in Practising Care: Quality Dental Care for People with Dementia, an online series designed to help the profession better care for people living with dementia.
Composed of six video modules now available via the ADA's CPD Portal, the series aims to prepare dental professionals to effectively treat the increasing numbers of people with dementia they will encounter in their practices in the coming years as the population ages.
A comprehensive range of issues have been covered in detail in the series:
• The many ways in which dementia manifests itself, the special responsibility all health practitioners have to people living with dementia and the many benefits derived from their original treating dentist continuing to provide care for them where possible.
• The simple yet effective non-clinical changes every practice can make to ensure that their patients with dementia continue to enjoy the highest quality of life.
• The risks of multi-morbidity, the clinical implications of using general anaesthesia and sedation and advantages of taking a multi-disciplinary approach to creating treatment plans.
• The importance of communication and patience in every aspect of treating a person living with dementia from the initial phone call to the best appointment times and ensuring access to the practice is seamless and trouble-free.
• The need for additional measures to be taken in obtaining informed consent, with an emphasis on respect, privacy and clear and understandable articulation.
• The unique requirements of domiciliary care from necessary equipment to the types of treatments that can be provided and the steps a dentist needs to take when treating a patient at a residential aged care facility.
Practice staff are encouraged to sit down together to watch each module and to discuss their contents and how they can make their practice more welcoming and accommodating to people living with dementia.
In most cases, the most effective changes will be attitudinal rather than clinical meaning most practices will be able to provide better care for people with dementia with minimal alterations to current operations but with substantial changes to the health and welfare of their patients with dementia.