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Care home staff trained to help residents with oral hygiene

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A scheme giving carers skills in oral hygiene has resulted in both newfound confidence and improved health for residents at a care home in North East Wales, according to those behind the project.

The Gwên am Byth programme has seen carers at Bron Haul residential care home in Rhyl receive training in oral health Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s community dental service team.

“The change we’ve seen in some of our residents has been incredible”

Debbie Williams

The training helps staff to pass on good oral health practices to residents and also helps them to spot signs of potential oral health issues such as dental decay, gum problems, or even mouth cancer.

The scheme has seen staff in 16 residential homes in Denbighshire receive training, as well as in a number of other locations in Gwynedd and Flintshire.

In addition, one of the carers, Kim Owen, 21, has been appointed as the home’s dental champion to oversee the mouth care provided for residents.

The Gwên am Byth programme is now being rolled out across elsewhere in North Wales, as part of a national drive to improve the oral health of older care home residents.

Angela Walmsley, dental health educator for the Denbighshire area, provided the training and care plans to “assist the residents in achieving optimal oral health”, said the board.

Ms Walmsley said: “It makes me proud to be able to teach the care staff and dental champions skills, which empower them to improve the oral health of their clients.”

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Care home staff trained to help residents with oral hygiene

Care home resident Jean Collin and dental champion Kim Owen 

“I’ve especially seen how the dental champions develop in confidence to become an integral part of the Gwên am Byth dental health team,” she noted.

Sian Chelton, the board’s dental health promotion manager, said the scheme was an example of supporting good oral hygiene among a “traditionally difficult to reach group of people”.

“Evidence shows that poor oral hygiene is linked to heart disease, stroke, endocarditis and poor lung condition,” she said.

“We’ve also heard from residents here about how having better oral hygiene has given them a boost in confidence, which in turn helps improve their mental and social wellbeing,” said Ms Chelton.

Debbie Williams, manager of Bron Haul, said: “The change we’ve seen in some of our residents has been incredible.

“We’ve seen people who were quite reserved and quiet really come out of their shells thanks to the confidence having better teeth has given them,” she said.

“The work Kim and the rest of our staff have put in has been brilliant, and the support from Angela and the rest of the community dental team has been invaluable,” said Ms Williams.

She added: “Knowing there’s a friendly voice at the end of the phone to offer further support is really reassuring for our staff.”

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Care home staff trained to help residents with oral hygiene

Mark Heaton, Debbie Williams, Jean Collin and Kim Owen of Bron Haul Care Home, with Angela Warmsley, dental health educator for the Denbighshire area

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