Aged Care Reform Now thanks Greens Senator Jordan Steele-John for initiating the Senate Inquiry into the Provision of and Access to Dental Services in Australia. From 20 June to 28 November, Senators Jordan Steele-John, Fatima Payman, Ross Cadell, Wendy Askew and Marielle Smith read 168 submissions and 16 additional documents, participated in 3 public hearings, and went on visits to dental services in 3 states.
Aged Care Reform Now member, Ms Amina Schipp, says that “most importantly, they listened to the lived experiences of people who had found it difficult to access affordable and appropriate oral health care and dental services. This included 10 lived experience stories from members and supporters of Aged Care Reform Now.”
Amina added that “we are most grateful that these people were willing to share these experiences. They did so as they want to improve oral health care for their parent, parent-in-law, relative or loved one.”
Aged Care Reform Now member, Ms Yvonne Buters, said that “they also stressed the importance of oral health for general health in terms of eating from a wider range of foods, talking and smiling, and contributing to their sense of well-being.”
Unfortunately, Yvonne also said that “they talked about the consequences of poor oral health for people living in a care home or for those receiving care at home. A key message was a call for better training of health workers and personal carers in oral health care.”
Aged Care Reform Now supporter, Ms Leonie Short, stressed that “the lived experience stories also included the difficulty in organising, and paying, for dental treatment, either, on or off-site. For some carers, this is a double whammy as the carers are also unable to afford dental treatment for themselves either.”
A key recommendation from the Final Report is for the Australian Government to consider the establishment of a Seniors Dental Benefit Scheme. Aged care Reform totally supports this recommendation.
Ms Amina Schipp states that “older Australians deserve better, and we can do better.”