The COVID-19 pandemic has shed a light on the fragility and limitations of our global health systems, particularly for our vulnerable senior populations. When COVID-19 began, dental care for residents of long-term care facilities all but stopped, even though oral health is critical. However, the systemic issue and social challenges for managing geriatric dental patients as the fastest growing age group in Canada remains a challenge.
The UBC Geriatric Dentistry Program is among the first in Canada to document the distribution of oral health problems in long-term care facilities through a dynamic program. This program not only provides a complement of dental care but also supports a unique educational model for UBC Dentistry students to gain a clinical dental education. Through specialized rotations, they will learn how to best serve our aging population and gain valuable skills for their future practices in gerontology and health aging. Nevertheless, the annual budget to sustain the UBC Geriatric Dentistry Program and ensure no-cost treatment to patients has been a challenge.
Today, UBC Faculty of Dentistry is pleased to announce its multi-year agreement with Henry Schein Canada, Henry Schein Cares and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, in support of the UBC Geriatric Dentistry Program. This will enable the program to provide much needed dental care for older adults residing in long-term care hospitals, with our dental and dental hygiene students.