On March 1, the Province of Alberta will enter Step 2 of their plan to ease public health measures. As the public health measures are being lifted and our communities are learning to live with COVID-19, we remind dental assistants to remain diligent in applying infection prevention and control standards and best practices.
It’s important that you have team policy discussions within your practice environment and continue to use your professional judgement to make evidence-informed decisions about the care you provide in your specific practice setting. Consider other factors including community risk, facility characteristics, and patient demographics. You should also consider:
- Maintaining the new procedures (e.g., patient pre-screening; limiting the number of people in the waiting area; daily screening of oral health care providers and staff; enhanced cleaning and disinfection of non-clinical areas; physical distancing; wearing of masks in all areas of your practice setting) and habits (e.g., enhanced hand hygiene; staying home when not feeling well) that resulted from the public health guidance during the pandemic and may be considered best practice going forward.
- Reviewing Occupational Health and Safety policies and best practices for the assessment and control of hazards in the workplace.
- Applying evidence-informed risk mitigation strategies, based on point-of-care-risk assessments, to prevent the transmission of infection and minimize potentially infectious aerosols (e.g., using enhanced PPE when airborne transmission precautions are necessary; using pre-procedural mouth rinses; limiting the use of high-speed handpieces; using high volume evacuation to control aerosols at the source of production).
- Keeping yourself and your colleagues informed of any ongoing and new public health measures.
By utilizing competent practice and working to develop a culture of safety, you are demonstrating your commitment to patient-centered care and minimizing risk.