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When Dr Hodgson met a local legend

Dr Martina Hodgson, Principal Dentist at At The Dental Studio meets new and exciting people every day as she performs dental treatments on patients, however there’s one gentleman in particular that Martina was thrilled to meet, Peter Smith from the Tea Cosy Memory Cafe in Rothwell.

In Martina’s words, here’s what happened the day Martina met Peter…

‘’Peter came to The Dental Studio in Wakefield to speak to myself and the dental team about dementia, this lovely gentleman is a true inspiration – he is dedicating his life to helping the lives of those with all forms of dementia, as well as the carers of people with dementia, who sometimes suffer to deal with dementia in others.

Dementia is not a glamorous subject and in many cases still has a stigma attached to it. Through Peter’s efforts, he is changing the community around him to become better aware of dementia. He talks to businesses about how they can help people with dementia, both in the environment they provide and the way they are cared for.’’

Martina contines ‘’The massive take home message for me was when he explained what happens when someone with dementia goes out into the community, say into a shop, opticians, or dental practice. If a healthy person had a bad experience at one of these places they wouldn’t go back, and they would simply take their business elsewhere. However someone affected with dementia will just be too scared to go back anywhere and will just retreat into their home, sometimes running out of food or neglecting their home and hygiene.

This made me realise how important it is, and what a responsibility small (and large) businesses in the community have to making sure these people are made to feel welcome, comfortable and cared for. For someone with dementia it is the difference between being able to get out and about or withdrawing into decline.’’

Martina states ‘’I particularly loved Peter’s story of the gentleman that goes into the vets every few months and takes his “cat” (actually a cushion cover) for his injections. The team at the vets know him, so they take the “cat” away, make the guy a cup of tea and sit down with him for a chat. Then 15 minutes later the vet comes back with the “cat”, all done, and the guy goes home happy. What an amazing example of how important the community is in ensuring this guy is always comfortable and happy.

The practice were so inspired by Peter’s talk that 9 members of the team have committed to volunteering at the memory cafe on Saturday mornings, a place were people with dementia can socialise and get support in an environment suited to their needs, which is just wonderful!”

‘’The Dental Studio is a well established dental practice and over the years, we have seen many of our patients go from being fit and healthy, to developing dementia. It is always heartbreaking to see, but I would like to hope that we provide these patients with a safe, secure and welcoming environment. Here are some of the ways that we do this:

  • A deeply embedded team culture of kindness, caring, patience and empathy. We show this through our BEST TEAM UK Dentistry Awards!
  • Ground floor surgeries for those that cannot climb stairs, disabled access.
  • A dedicated Care Co-ordinator and consultation room where patients can sit and chat in private for as long as they wish over a cup of tea or coffee. This is especially helpful for new patients to the practice, who may be very nervous and unsure about new surroundings. This is a complimentary service where Tracie, our friendly care co-ordinator will give them a tour of the practice and explain everything at the patient’s own pace, with no rushing or time constraints. She can answer any questions, as many times as necessary!
  • Longer appointments for the patients who need it
  • Training and understanding of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults.

At The Dental Studio, we welcome patients with dementia, and will continue to build on and improve how we provide dentistry to this often forgotten group of patients. As I said at the beginning, dealing with patients with dementia is not glamorous, nor lucrative, however giving a patient a comfortable, functional, pain free mouth in a safe and welcoming environment has to be the biggest reward of all.’’ Martina comments.

If you would like to make an appointment for you or a loved one to have a complimentary tour of the practice and a chat over a tea or coffee, please call us on 01924 822097 or have a look through our website here.