The aim of Gerodent PLUS is to promote good oral health and to create the currently absent continuity in the provision of oral care for the rapidly growing group of vulnerable elderly living at home at the level of primary care regions.This goal is pursued through (1) improved interprofessional collaboration between caregivers and (2) improving access to care for frail and care-dependent elderly people who stay at home or in a form of sheltered housing or intermediate housing with or without support. We do the latter by increasing oral health literacy among care recipients and raising awareness among oral care professionals to improve access to their care environment. Finally (3) we want to better coordinate regular dental care and existing mobile care (Gerodent). The project focuses on two primary care regions so context-specific and transdisciplinary collaboration can be achieved in function of the needs in the region.
- Caregivers: care providers and welfare workers active within the primary care zones who can play an active role in oral care at the level of prevention and referral (general practitioners, care and nurses, home care, pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dietitians, OCMW, CAW, ...) in collaboration with oral care professionals (dentists, dental hygienists).
- Care recipients: frail and care-dependent home-dwelling elderly people and their informal carers.
The health care councils will first assess the needs and barriers within the primary care regions and the most suitable methods will be sought to promote interprofessional collaboration, to involve everyone in oral health promotion and to set up an optimal standardized referral policy. The caregivers will then be trained through an interprofessional training based on previously determined needs, so that everyone knows how the various disciplines can contribute to the oral health of vulnerable elderly people. Through an oral health promotion campaign based on the needs and barriers of the care recipient, we ensure that they are empowered to improve their oral health or that of their loved ones. This will be disseminated via the already existing structures with which care recipients come into contact (e.g. health promotion organisations, local authorities, informal care associations, home care organisations,…) and health professionals in the primary care regions. Based on one or more indicators, more visibility is given to dental practices that are elderly and dementia-friendly. Finally, a toolbox will be developed in collaboration with the stakeholders with which care councils can work to integrate oral care into the care and welfare offer and to make interprofessional collaboration run more smoothly.