Infection prevention is critical in health care. The spread of a bloodborne pathogen, like Hepatitis C, is still a risk for professionals and patients alike. A sterile environment is necessary for every patient seen to prevent infectious outbreaks. Dental offices that follow appropriate daily guidelines for infection prevention will do their part to prevent such outbreaks.
What Infection Control Protocols Should my Office Put in Place?
Many practices deal with blood or other bodily fluids infiltrating their space. It is paramount to install protocols and practices to ensure dental staffs are preventing the spread of bloodborne pathogens, which protect themselves and patients in the event of an infection emergency. While sanitation is, of course, a priority, the fundamental elements of infection prevention include:
Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is equipment that will protect your staff against health or safety risks in the dental office due to blood, body fluids, and other hazardous materials being present on a daily basis. Based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulations, employers must provide appropriate PPE for employees and ensure that PPE are either disposable or, if reusable, are cleaned, laundered, repaired, and stored.
It’s also important to note that CDC guidelines about the removal of protective gear changed in 2014 after two nurses contracted Ebola. This protocol is currently employed by Doctors Without Borders, and offices that follow these recent guidelines are implementing vital infection prevention procedures in their practices.
For more information, follow the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) Safest Dental Visit Guide and specifically the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).