Questions to the First Minister: Care Home Improvement Cymru

Janet:

Will the First Minister make a statement on the Care Home Improvement Cymru programme?

 

First Minister:

I thank the Member for that. The programme focuses on practical measures to improve the experience of care home residents, for example by preventing falls, reducing pressure ulcers and improving dementia care. It invests in the skills and capabilities of staff in care homes, from experienced managers to newly recruited workers at the start of their careers.

 

Janet:

Thank you. An integral part of the care home improvement Cymru programme is the Gwên am Byth oral health improvement scheme. The scheme sees staff trained in mouth care, oral risk assessments are carried out, which lead to an individual care plan, and residents are to have appropriate mouth care resources for their care plan, such as a toothbrush and high-fluoride toothpaste. I found that, for the year ending March 2019, there were 10,228 residents in 287 homes participating fully in the programme. However, only 55 per cent had a mouth care plan being delivered. What action will you take to ensure that the oral health of the 4,558 individuals without a mouth care health plan in place, who are supposedly participating in this programme—that they will actually receive this treatment?

 

First Minister:

I thank the Member for drawing attention to the Gwên am Byth programme, a very important programme of the Welsh Government. It came out of work carried out by Sarah Rochira, the previous Older People's Commissioner for Wales, whose report, you will remember, focused on the very small things that make a real difference in the lives of care home residents. And she drew attention to those basic primary care services—ophthalmology, dental services—and the Gwên am Byth programme is the result of that. It was tested in care homes and with the community dental services, and now we have a national oral health toolkit. And my colleague Vaughan Gething announced additional funding for this programme just at the end of last year, because it's a proven success, it makes a real difference in the lives of those care home residents, and we want to see it happening in every care home in Wales.