For the past 12 months, the facility has worked closely with CQUni to provide a practical and supportive platform for students to gain insight and experience first hand what it is like to work in the field of oral hygiene.
Alexandra Gardens facility manager, Sandra Thomson, who is also on CQUni’s Bachelor of Health committee, believes providing a place of engagement for the students is beneficial for the students as well as her residents and staff.
“The students who come here not only benefit from seeing how an aged care facility operates but it also helps them hone their teaching skills as they train staff at the facility about oral health," Ms Thomson says.
“The students have trained our staff on how to asses residents’ oral health and provide personalised oral health care plans for the residents.
“This is a win-win situation for all, as the students gain vital practical skills and our staff are introduced to the latest techniques and technology available to maintain oral health amongst our residents," she says.
Alexandra Gardens resident, Mary, has welcomed the CQUni program and enjoys the service the students provide.
“The girls are lovely, very kind and they do not rush me and they tell me what they are doing the whole time.”
Oral hygiene and dental health are fast becoming an area of concern within aged care facilities in Australia due to the number of residents who retain their natural teeth.
In the past, more than 50% of residents relied on dentures; however this number is expected to decrease to only 20% by 2019.
Rockhampton’s CQUni is leading the way in practical training, with local practitioners and progressive aged care organisations such as PresCare helping establish a best practice model in elderly oral health.
"We’re very proud of the students who do their clinical placement here at Alexandra Gardens and we feel our residents gain so much from their enthusiasm and knowledge for healthy teeth,” Ms Thomson says.