For many people, a trip to the dentist can be a daunting prospect, “I hope most of you won’t mind me saying this. But I think you’ll agree that a trip to the dentist is not everyone’s idea of a fun day out.” wrote Angela Rippon CBE when introducing the guide to dental teams.
Dental Dementia Friendly Guide: A guide to enhance your practice and patient experience, was published by the University of Plymouth and co-written with Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise and Plymouth City Council. The aim is to support dental teams in developing compassionate, dementia-friendly care in their practice.
The downloadable guide, available from the University of Plymouth website, provides tips for dental surgeries along with case studies showing some of the changes. The advice is split into three key areas; People, Processes, and Places.
Here’s just a few of the handy tips included:
- Use the personal touch e.g. accompany the patient to and from the waiting area
so they feel less overwhelmed and anxious
- offering familiarisation visits to the practice prior to appointments to help alleviate anxiety
- avoiding shiny flooring (which can look like water to a person with dementia) or dark carpets (that can appear as black holes)
- having regular dementia workshops or training with all staff
- engaging with people with dementia and their carers to ask for feedback on what would make their visits easier.