To top off a relaxing trip overseas, one slips into a slumber mood and relishes the thought of being served breakfast in bed. But have you thought of the better thing to do, that of serving an old lady in bed, not with breakfast tray, but with a tray containing dental examination tools? Such was the service provided to the residents of a few nursing homes in Singapore, provided by a team of volunteers comprising dentists, OHTs, DSAs, and other volunteers.
Most of the residents come from low income families, while some are destitute and without homes. Suffering from multiple chronic medical conditions, their long-term healthcare needs have been draining them financially. The majority of the patients are either wheelchair bound or bedridden, and they still require continued medical, rehabilitative and nursing support. While the hospital care team can provide them quality medical care, those with dental needs such as toothache and swollen gums have to wait their turns before they can get a dental appointment in public institutions such as National Dental Centre, and ambulance transport needs to be arranged to ferry them to the treatment centres. NGO's such as Tzu Chi Foundation recognize the need to bring dentistry to these folks, and its medical arm TIMA (Tzu Chi International Medical Association) mobilises its dental team together with members of the Singapore Dental Association to bring free dental treatment to these needy and bedridden individuals, in the confines of their hospital beds which they call "home".
There are numerous dental needs for bed-bound residents of nursing homes.
The talk highlights some of these needs and how these needs were met with the help of proper equipment and a caring team of volunteers. The obstacles encountered and how these were overcome will also be discussed.