Residents at two Milton Keynes care centres are showing off their broadest smiles thanks to their award-winning carers.
The specialist care centres, owned and managed by Milton Keynes company PJ Care, have been presented with a Smile For Life Award after completing a scheme aimed at improving residents’ oral health.
The Smile For Life project is run by the Milton Keynes Community Health Service’s oral health promotion team, set up to raise awareness of the importance of good teeth and gums.
Nurses and carers at the Bluebirds Neurological Care Centre in Shenley Lodge, and Mallard House Neurological Care Centre in Grange Farm, took part in a specially designed training course which emphasised how important it was for elderly and vulnerable adults to look after their teeth properly.
Anna Lesniak, a nurse and practice development manager at PJ Care, said initiatives like this were vitally important for residents.
“Caring for vulnerable people with dignity and respect is as much about attending to small details as it is about broader issues,” said Anna.
“Everyone feels better when they have nice clean fresh teeth – but for some people we care for it’s not that easy to get brushing right.
“We always make personal hygiene a priority, and this training course has just underlined how important oral health is.”
Lynne Evans, one of the residents at Bluebirds, said: “We had great fun getting our Smile For Life award. I even sat in on the training, and got my own certificate at the end!
“All of the staff take great care of my teeth and I am glad that they have been recognised.”
Bluebirds and Mallard House have now appointed six oral health ‘champions’ whose duty it is to make sure everyone remembers the Smile For Life message. They will also help train new nurses and carers.
The centres have also, with the help of residents, developed a healthy snack policy. Nurses and carers will work with residents and their families to make sure they choose more ‘tooth-friendly’ food and drink – an apple rather than chocolate perhaps, and water rather than lemonade.
Johann van Zyl, chief executive officer at PJ Care, said: “This is a really worthwhile scheme.
“The training was superb, and was embraced by the staff and by residents alike.
“We’re now looking at how we can roll out the good work done in Milton Keynes to our other care centre, Eagle Wood, in Peterborough.”