WHAT TO DO NOW TO REOPEN WITH A SEAMLESS TRANSITION
Health Authorities around Europe and other dental professional associations, have recommended dentists to keep their offices closed to all but urgent and emergency procedures
in order to limit the potential for disease transmission and while being on hold, it is important to be prepared now, so you know what steps to take when your practice fully reopens for all procedures.
From administrative to clinical to infection prevention tasks, there’s a lot you can and should be doing to keep your practice in good shape. Part one of this post will examine best practice recommendations
for temporarily closing an office as well as what can be done during this interim downtime. Part two will then detail steps for reopening the practice for all procedures.
1) LIMITING TREATMENT OR CLOSING A PRACTICE
There are some best practice recommendations that a practice should take prior to limiting patient treatment, or temporarily closing the office. a) Administrative Tasks
When closing the practice, it is important to back up all patient data and make arrangements for accepting packages and other deliveries if the staff won’t be at the office. Also, when notifying patients
, any communication should include contact information for emergencies as well as explaining what constitutes an emergency.
A practice can also stay connected to patients by developing social media channels
for ongoing communication and practice updates. Showing how the team is staying busy with training, cleaning, and organizing is a great way to illustrate your investment in the office.b) Clinical and Infection Prevention Tasks
Prior to limiting treatment or closing your practice, disinfect all environment surfaces and equipment
with intermediate-level disinfectant approved for use against SARS-CoV-2. That includes treatment rooms, clinical support areas, reception, restrooms, and any other area within the practice. It is also important to clean, dry, package, sterilize, and store all instruments to ensure they will be ready for use upon your return. If you use an ultrasonic unit, it should be empty and cleaned. For dental unit care, empty and clean your water bottles or reservoirs
(per manufacturer instructions) and purge water from all lines and be sure to turn off all power to equipment. Finally, check your inventory
to make sure you have the clinical and infection prevention products to conduct emergency procedures and maintain infection control. This Infection Prevention Product Resource has a great run-down of the products needed to maintain a safe environment.
2) MAINTAINING YOUR PRACTICE DURING LIMITED TREATMENT TIME OR TEMPORARY CLOSURE
A great way to stay proactive during this closure, is to review protocol and complete tasks and projects that are difficult to do when the practice has a full schedule of patients.a) Infection Prevention and Control
A good start would be reviewing your infection prevention policies with additional training and protocol updates. Hu-Friedy continues to be your partner in providing a COVID-19 resources center
for compliance, following the latest and constantly updated guidelines and regulations, with cost-effective solutions
that help minimize the risk of cross-infections in the dental practice. Click here
to read about Hu-Friedy IMS Solution
Moreover, an infection control coordinator can help set protocol for screening patients with respiratory symptoms and/or exposure to respiratory infections as well as adding and updating infection prevention information on the practice website and social media accounts.b) Maintenance and Upkeep
Just because practices are temporarily closed or seeing a limited number of patients doesn’t mean that maintenance
isn’t required and the last thing your practice needs is lost time
due to an unforeseen mishap with your equipment. Here are some suggestions on what you can be doing, but it is important to remember to read and understand the IFUs
for all your equipment, as that will be your best indicator on what maintenance is needed.Sterilizers
should be monitored at least weekly using proper monitoring products such as a biological indicator or Helix Test. Clean and close the unit following the manufacturer’s IFU and drain the water reservoir.
Can be different upon the Country in Europe
If a waterline treatment produc
tis used, such as DentaPure CartridgeTM
,and you are maintaining the operatory for emergency use, perform a two-minute flush of all lines, including unused lines, that draw water from either DUWL (Dental Unit Water Line) bottle or a municipal source at the start of each day. Throughout the day perform 20-30 second flushes of all devices connected to the dental water between patients. And at the end of the day, if using a bottle system, empty the bottle and return to the manifold.
3) AND THEN, SHIFT YOUR MINDSET
Above all, the most important non-clinical change will be your mindset and what your patients are going to need to see and hear in order to feel comfortable coming back to your practice. What has to be done before you can safely reopen your practice? What has to be communicated and how in order to instill confidence in patients and staff? When your practice reopens, it will be in a post-COVID-19 world
, your practice needs to be safer than ever before
when it comes to infection prevention
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