The majority of people living in supported accommodation group homes throughout the state of Victoria, are those with intellectual or multiple disabilities.
Any degree of reduced intellectual capacity significantly reduces a person’s quality of life through limiting their self-determination. Therefore, all avenues which are at all meaningful and enjoyable to the person must be sought and enhanced.
The most common avenue of enjoyment for almost all people, is food and drink. It is vital for the full enjoyment of food, to have a good set of one’s own teeth, and good gums.
Yet a large number of people with intellectual or multiple disabilities, especially those in supported accommodation group homes - most especially those in DHS group homes have poor teeth or none at all. And, most can’t wear dentures for obvious reasons.
Most of the poor dental care culture came from the questionable care in the, then, large institutions – a culture which filtered out to the, now, group homes in the community.
Not only is in-home dental care frequently inconsistent, but so are regular visitations to dental care professionals.
The general culture of group home support staff , their management and state trustees is that residents cannot afford, (a) a degree of private health care and, (b) dental care other than the ‘dental hospital’ and all the associated delays. Whereas many residents can afford private health and dental care at present, albeit just.
We, therefore, question, (a) why most residents of DHS group homes do not have a degree of private health care, especially hospital cover – as many residents are, as a result of their disability, intolerant of public services and, (b) why most residents of DHS group homes do not have regular dental checks every six months by a local dentist or a specialist dental surgeon where necessary to accommodate their disability.
Government policy, as depicted by DHS care policies, standards and values, is that people with disabilities shall be supported to have a lifestyle as close as possible to that of the general community. The above proposals are very common within the general community.
We question there is such an acceptance by government bureaucrats that our most disadvantaged citizens are currently and consistently treated as second class citizens in this regard,