December 2018 | Estimate reading time: 3 - 5 mins.
An integral piece of your required documentation at your practice, in adhering to Australian and New Zealand Compliance protocols, is the Infection Prevention Policy and Procedures Manual.
This manual must be an ultra-comprehensive document that includes information about procedures specific to the daily routines of your practice. It serves a reference point for all your team members and should also be used for training your dental staff.
Given the meticulous details and levels of complex components of this required document, some practices tend to get perplexed at what needs to be included in this manual; as all your policies and procedures, including work instructions should be aligned with current Compliance guidelines.
To help alleviate your stress, here’s a checklist of what your Policy and Procedures Manual should include:
- Methods of hand hygiene (for both routine and surgical)
- Personal protective equipment requirements
- Setting up the treatment area between patients
- Environmental cleaning protocols
- Defined zones that require barrier protection and cleaning between patients
- Protocols following an exposure of incident, i.e. a sharps injury
- Correct handling and disposal of sharps
- Proper waste disposal
- Processing of reusable items (cleaning, packaging, sterilisation, disinfection, storage)
- Processing of radiographs in a manner to avoid cross-contamination
- Quality control mechanisms including documentation for the maintenance and monitoring of equipment
- All immunisation requirements
- Correct use and handling of single-use items
- Recording of information during patient treatment in a manner to avoid cross-contamination
- Use of computers and computer-run equipment during a patient treatment in a manner to avoid cross-contamination
- Management of waterlines used in direct patient contact
- Handling of latex allergy in dental patients and dental staff
An Incident Register should be held to document any incidents or accidents, and all staff in your practice must know who is responsible for ensuring certain activities are carried out.
Remember that just having this manual alone does not meet the compliance criteria.
Practice infection prevention manuals should always be reviewed by the team and a Staff Register should be signed by all staff to show they have read, understood and will follow these practice protocols.
On top of that, your Infection Prevention Policy and Procedures Manual must be regularly updated – if and when new guidelines are produced by the Dental Board, the Dental Council New Zealand, the Australian Dental Association or the National Health and Medical Research Council.