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Workshop Abstracts

Integrating Oral and General Health Care in Australia: Utilising Aged Care to demonstrate essential elements of this global issue.


Rachel Martin ,

North Richmond Community Health Inc, Richmond, VIC; University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, AU
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Hanny Calache,

North Richmond Community Health Inc, Richmond, VIC University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria La Trobe University, Rural Health School, Bendigo, Victoria, AU
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Ajesh George

Western Sydney University, Sydney, NSW, AU
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Good Oral Health (OH) is important for general health and wellbeing.

Oral diseases (tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer), although largely preventable, are among the most prevalent chronic diseases in Australia. As with chronic disease, oral disease follows a socio- economic gradient. The most vulnerable people wait years for public dental care, whilst disease worsens.

Evidence indicates that poor OH impacts on management of general diseases and negatively impacts quality of life (QoL).  For example, gum disease and diabetes have a bi-directional relationship. Untreated gum disease can affect glycemic control and lead to complications.

Health literacy, early detection and intervention are key to primary disease prevention and management.

Historically, the mouth has been separated from the body across health education programs, service delivery, policy setting and funding.  To reduce costs and improve health outcomes, spending on dental care must be shifted from a focus on surgical treatment to early intervention and prevention.  OH must be integrated into general health with all health professionals sharing responsibility for OH promotion and prevention. This quantum shift challenges traditional values and practices, requires leadership in change, and capacity building for consumers and the healthcare sector.

Many issues need addressing at clinical, professional, organisational and system levels to fully realise the population and economic benefits of sharing responsibility for OH care. It is crucial to demonstrate to government and policy makers the improved health, well-being and economic benefits of integrating OH into preventive models of general healthcare.

1.             Aims and Objectives

To address the factors required for integration of OH into general healthcare systems utilising an example of the aged population in Australia. The following will be achieved:

a.             Demonstration of a model of care in the aged care sector that integrates oral health as part of the general health care of this population

b.             The development of the key elements of a consensus statement and framework for integrating OH into general health

2.             Target audience

a.             Healthcare professionals, policy makers, health funders, carers and consumers

3.             Learnings

a.             How Oral Health care contributes to the overall management of chronic conditions

b.             General healthcare professionals’ roles in contributing to good oral and general health

c.             Simple, low cost interventions that can significantly contribute to improved QoL in vulnerable populations

d.             Examples of current interdisciplinary models of healthcare in Aged Care

e.             Essential elements of a consensus statement for the integration of OH with general health care

4.             Format

Introduction          5 minutes              A/Prof Rachel Martin

The problem         5 minutes              Prof Clive Wright

Models of oral health for aged care                20 minutes            Presenters: A/Prof Janet Wallace,  Dr Kavitha Sivisithamparam

Panel discussion   45 minutes            Essentials for OH integration into general care: Aged Care example       

Moderator: Prof Clive Wright. Invited Panel members: Geriatrician, Council of the Ageing, Personal Carer, Nurse, Oral Health Professional, Aged Care Industry.

Summary               15 minutes            From consensus statement to policy – considering the landscape. Dr Lisa Studdert, Deputy Secretary for Population Health, Sport and Aged Care Quality 

5.             Preferred length

a.             90 minutes

How to Cite: Martin R, Calache H, George A. Integrating Oral and General Health Care in Australia: Utilising Aged Care to demonstrate essential elements of this global issue.. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2021;20(S1):215. DOI:
Published on 26 Feb 2021.
Peer Reviewed


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