The Australian Dental Association (ADA), in partnership with Alzheimer’s Australia, recently launched an online series designed to help the dental profession better care for people living with dementia.
Composed of six video modules now available via the ADA’s CPD Portal, the series is called Partnership in Practising Care: Quality Dental Care for People with Dementia. It aims to prepare dental professionals to effectively treat the increasing number of people with dementia they will encounter in their practices in the coming years as the population ages.
The series tackles a range of issues such as:
• The many ways in which dementia manifests itself, the special responsibility all health practitioners have to people living with dementia, and why it is so beneficial that such people continue to receive care from their original treating dentist.
• 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 the 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.
Practice staff are encouraged to sit down together to watch and discuss each module, workshopping ways 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; many practices will be able to provide better care for people with dementia with minimal alterations to current operations.