The Appointment

There are around 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK with numbers set to rise to over one million by 2025 and two million by 2051. In response to the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 and the 2015-16 Mandate from the Government to Health Education England (HEE) we are supporting the development of an informed and effective workforce for people living with dementia.

The Appointment

Improving access to dental services for people with dementia is of paramount importance. It can significantly improve their quality of life and prevent further problems associated with poor oral health. The Appointment” is a short film inspired by an award-winning series of films called “Barbara’s Story” that was developed to highlight issues around caring for people with dementia in an acute hospital setting. It is intended to show insight into just how confusing attending a dental appointment can be for someone with dementia and highlights the crucial role played by the whole team, especially receptionists and dental nurses, in supporting vulnerable patients.

» Click here to view “The Appointment” on Youtube
» Click here to download “The Appointment” in MP4 file format
 Click here to download the resource pack for “The Appointment” (pdf.)

Tips for Trainers

  • Dementia training is important and is relevant for all members of the dental team. The principles of caring, compassion, good communication, competence and commitment apply to all patients regardless of their age.
  • Ask the audience to turn off their phones and bleepers at the start
  • This film has been designed to trigger discussion. It is not intended to tell people what to do but to help them to develop a sense of things that they could do.
  • Allow space and time for them to think about what they have seen before you start the discussion.

Make the point that there are people who show a caring and compassionate attitude in the film.

These sessions may not be suitable for someone recently bereaved or those who are carers themselves. Please be sensitive to this and organise support if required. Let the audience know before showing the film.

The film, “The Appointment” highlights the crucial role played by the whole dental team, including receptionists and dental nurses in supporting patients with short term memory problems and undiagnosed dementia. Its running time is just under 15 minutes and is designed to be watched by the members of the dental team together as part of a practice meeting. The accompanying resources have been designed to stimulate discussion and facilitate planning to meet the needs of such an individual in the dental practice environment.

The film launched in June 2015 and has been shown in numerous CPD sessions across the country, receiving excellent feedback and has been recognised nationally. It is on YouTube to facilitate access for all the members of the dental team. The film was shown at the FPH Annual Conference and Public Health Exhibition 2016: Public health in a cold climate: Melting hearts and minds with evidence in June 2016, Brighton.

Working Towards Dementia Friendly Dental Practices

Health Education England Thames Valley/ Wessex are helping members of the dental team to provide supportive care environments for dementia patients. This involves signposting to relevant training alongside an audit to assess current progress towards becoming dementia friendly. Overall, the scheme will enable staff to provide safe, effective, caring, responsive treatment for their patients with dementia which meets CQC requirements and the audit will provide valuable evidence of this.  It is hoped that this project can provide the basis for the future development of dental services and care pathways for people with dementia within the Thames Valley and support ongoing negotiations with the commissioners of these services.

If you require further information, please contact Katy Kerr at  

A hard copy of the audit can be downloaded here:


Face to face training can be booked through the Health Education England TV/Wessex website on topics such as:

  • Safeguarding for Vulnerable Adults
  • Mental capacity and dementia awareness
  • Essential dementia awareness for the dental team in primary care


Best estimates show that 35% of dementia cases may be avoided by improvements in public health.
Dementia doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of ageing. People are more likely to live well in their older years if they live more healthily in earlier life, particularly during mid-life (40-65 years). Life expectancy is increasing, healthy life expectancy is not and members of the dental team have a role to play in prevention.

What’s good for the heart can be good for the brain: factors that increase the chances of developing vascular disease also increase the chance of developing dementia. Therefore, a holistic life-long approach to health promotion should be encouraged, such as brief interventions including Smoking Cessation services, Physical Activity, and Weight Management Programmes. 

Simple actions can reduce dementia risk:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly and be physically active
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol
  • Stop smoking (if you smoke)
  • Make sure to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level

Learn more about dementia prevention on the NHS Choices website: 

Understanding dementia

E-Learning for Health

The Dementia Programme

The e-learning programme in Dementia Care has been designed to enhance the training and education of the health and social care workforce. It focuses on the essential knowledge and skills needed to support and enable people living with dementia and their family carers to live as well as possible, wherever they live.

Module 1 Introduction to Living with Dementia

Module 2 Enabling People to Live Well with Dementia