45 St. Clair Ave. West, Suite 600
Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1K9
Tel: (416) 925-7400

Geriatric Dental Services: My Meeting with Dr. Natalie Archer

Dr. Natalie ArcherI recently had the fortunate opportunity of meeting Dr. Natalie Archer through a friend and colleague, Rachael Blumenfeld, lawyer at Miller Thomson LLP who organized an opportunity for myself and other colleagues, Jan Goddard and Laura Watts, to meet with Dr. Natalie Archer to hear what she had to say about challenges that health care professionals are encountering in respect of geriatric dental services.

Dr. Natalie Archer has been practicing dentistry and mobile geriatric dentistry in Ontario for over ten (10) years. Dr. Archer also teaches part-time.

Dr. Archer in conjunction with Runnymede Dental Centre has opened up a dental clinic at Runnymede Health Care Centre. The clinic opened in January 2011, and offers a comprehensive and preventative approach, emphasising and teaching good oral health to Runnymede patients, staff and now the wider community. The Runnymede Dental Clinic is designed to meet the unique challenges posed by patients requiring specialized care. Dr. Archer’s practice has raised concerns by her and professionals like her regarding issues of elder abuse and neglect.

Questions raised include whether or not there are mandatory reporting requirements for health professionals to an organization where a professional suspects elder abuse or neglect.

Dr. Archer has provided geriatric dental services to nursing homes, retirement homes, long term care facilities, hospitals, and private residences in Ontario for over ten (10) years.

Indeed, she has provided services to over 125 different facilities across Ontario. Dr. Archer has encountered a number of troubling cases of elder abuse in various settings, and in particular, in long-term care facilities. Dr. Archer, like many of our colleagues, has resorted to guidance from our friends at the Canadian Center for Elder Law, a division of the British Columbia Law Institute, references in a paper she recently wrote: “The Practical Guide to Elder Abuse and Neglect in Canada” which was prepared as at August 31, 2010. Click to link to the report

Dr. Archer has also researched advocacy organizations and elder abuse campaigns in Ontario. Dr. Archer makes reference in one of her reports to the Province of Ontario which has developed a strategy to combat elder abuse. Click to link to the website

Dr. Archer also references the Province of Ontario having partnered with a not-for-profit organization called Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (“ONPEA”). Click to link to ONPEA

Dr. Archer also highlighted the Federal government’s Elder Abuse Awareness Campaign which can be linked to by clicking here.

The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee has an investigative unit for which suspicions concerning abuse of a person under disability can be made. The contact details are as follows:

595 Bay Street, Suite 800, Toronto, ON, M5G 2M6
Tel.: (416) 327 -6683
Toll Free: 1-800-366-0335
Fax: (416) 314- 2642

There is also a specialized unit with Toronto Police Services headed by PC # 4884, Patricia Fleischmann, at the Community Mobilization Unit – Vulnerable Persons Issues:

Toronto Police Service
40 College Street,
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2J3
Bus: (416) 808-7040
Fax: (416) 808-7222
Email: Patricia.Fleischmann@torontopolice.on.ca

The Elder Law Resources tools and links on Whaley Estate Litigation website can be linked to by clicking here.

Dr. Archer raised several questions of myself and colleagues regarding the use of Powers of Attorney for Personal Care, advance directives and guardianship appointments, and whether or not dental hygiene and care can be referenced in these documents. As ever, advanced planning directives can help a person plan for incapacity, including what they wish to have happen to them with respect to their personal care needs and wants.

Given the level of abuse and/or neglect that Dr. Archer is meeting first hand, it begs the question why we are not as a society, directing more thought and care into our personal care planning directives.

Dr. Natalie Archer has set up a website designed to provide a forum of interaction for professionals with respect to dentistry issues, including issues of neglect and abuse: www.openwidegroup.com

We encourage you to visit Dr. Archer’s website and take the opportunity to use this forum as a dialogue between professionals, both legal and medical and other, to combat elder abuse, neglect, and to implement preventative measures, including the coordination and establishment of resources and tools easily accessible both to the elderly and to their substitute decision makers, as well as care providers.

For information on the Runnymede Dental Clinic, please access link:

For Dr. Archer’s bio and details, please access link:


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