COVID Safety Measures – Los Gatos, CA
Training & Educating Our Team
One of the most important things we are doing during this time is training and educating our team. Our dental office staff is already well equipped and trained in the use of PPE and Universal Precautions. COVID-19 presents some new issues which necessitate additional training and protocols:
- Refresher training in proper hand washing techniques, as we do every year. This may seem basic; however, it is the most important thing we can do to prevent spread of the virus.
- Appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the additional equipment we have installed to mitigate aerosol spread and to prevent contamination.
- Employees that are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms are to stay home and to be evaluated for COVID-19 by a medical doctor.
- All employees will have their temperature taken at the beginning of every day; employees with temperatures above 100.4 will be sent home and evaluated for COVID-19.
- Limiting the numbers of patients coming through the dental office.
- Limiting the volume of procedures that produce aerosols.
- More time in between patients to allow for room disinfection.
- Additional equipment to mitigate aerosols.
- Clinical staff should change into scrubs and work shoes (preferably plastic and wipeable) as soon as you arrive. Dental office staff should wear a lab coat to protect their personal clothing while in the dental office.
- Use PPE as appropriate.
- Refrain from using other employees’ phones, desks, offices and personal items as much as possible.
- Clean phone handsets before and after use.
- No cell phone use at work.
Patient Interviews and Social Distancing
When a staff member calls patients to confirm appointments, they will ask if the patient has any of the following symptoms:
- Fever over 100.4-measured by a thermometer.
- Shortness of breath.
- Dry cough.
- Runny nose.
- Sore throat.
- Reduction in a sense of smell and taste.
We will reschedule patients who show any signs of a cough or fever or who describe having any concerning warning signs.
We will instruct patients to call ahead and reschedule their appointment if they develop symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., cough, sore throat or fever) on the day they are scheduled to be seen.
We are drastically modifying our schedule for the near future. All dental visits will be longer and we will allow more time between appointments for additional infection control procedures. We will incorporate tele-dentistry as much as possible in our dental office for post-op visits and consultations that do not require in-person visits.
To Promote Social Distancing
- Spreading out the schedule to minimize the number of people passing through the waiting room; one at a time as much as possible.
- As much as possible have financials, consents, medical history, and other paperwork completed and filled out ahead of time using tele-dentistry.
- All patients will be escorted through the side door upon completion of treatment.
- Limit points of entry to the front door.
- Everyone entering the dental office should be wearing a mask.
- Post visual alerts (e.g., signs, posters) at the entrance door advising patients of the COVID-19 risk and advising them not to enter the facility when ill.
- Provide supplies such as alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) with 60-95% alcohol, tissues and no-touch receptacles for disposal, at the entrance, in waiting rooms and at front desk.
Upon Arrival to the Dental Office Patients Are:
- Asked about the presence of symptoms of a respiratory infection and history of travel or contact with possible COVID-19 patients.
- Assessed for respiratory symptoms and fever.
- If fever temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher or respiratory symptoms are present, they will be evaluated to seek medical treatment and their visit will be rescheduled. Dental infections are also a reason for elevated temperatures.
- Consent completed, if not already done, stating they are aware of the risk of being in the dental office and COVID-19 Screening.
- Patients will then be escorted into an examination room.
Reception Room and Front Desk Safety Measures
- We have a hospital grade large air filtration device in the reception area.
- Frequent wipe down of waiting rooms, bathrooms, door handles, tables, light switches, computers…etc.
- All surfaces are wiped down regularly with appropriate disinfectants.
- Plexiglass barriers on front counter between admin team and patients.
- Charts should only be handled by admin team and no longer taken to the treatment rooms. All paperwork should be handled at front desk before the patient goes back and should not go into treatment rooms. Health history can be given to doctor outside the room for review.
Hand Hygiene is Performed by Our Staff
- Before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and after removing personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves.
- After removing PPE in order to remove any pathogens that might have been transferred to bare hands during the removal process.
- Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Personal Protective Equipment for Our Team
- Wear PPE (masks, gloves, cap, eye protection, face shields, gowns)
- N95 masks and face shields are to be used during aerosol generating procedures.
- Put on eye protection (i.e., goggles or a disposable face shield that covers the front and sides of the face) upon entry to the patient room or care area.
- Remove eye protection before leaving the patient room or care area.
- Reusable eye protection must be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer’s reprocessing instructions prior to re-use.
- Put on clean, non-sterile gloves upon entry into the patient room or care area.
- Change gloves if they become torn or heavily contaminated during the procedure.
- Remove and discard gloves when leaving the patient room or care area, and immediately perform hand hygiene.
- Gowns will be used for all aerosol-generating procedures and during activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated.
- Gowns will be changed if it becomes soiled. Remove and discard the gown in a dedicated container for waste or linen before leaving the patient room or care area. Disposable gowns will be discarded and cloth gowns will be laundered daily.
Patients in the Operatory
- All employees should strictly follow basic infection control practices between patients (e.g., hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting shared equipment).
- Limit transport and movement of the patient outside of the room.
- Special precautions will be taken when performing aerosol generating procedures (AGP), in particular, procedures that are likely to induce coughing are avoided if possible.
- After the patient has left, the room should undergo appropriate cleaning and surface disinfection before it is returned to routine use.
Additional Equipment We Have Installed:
- Each operatory has been equipped with a powerful air filtration system that removes particles from the air.
- We have installed extra-oral devices to aid in aerosol removal.
- We have installed UV devices in our air conditioning and heating ducts to kill viruses and bacteria.
Treatment Planning & Financial Disclosure Forms:
Our standard practice of reviewing treatment plans and financials prior to care will continue to be followed. Treatment plans will be presented by the administrative team via email or phone whenever possible or in the front office while wearing a mask. If a patient has to sign a document mid treatment, they will put their mask back on and step into the hall to review and sign with the administrative team. A sanitized clipboard and pen will be provided.
Protocols After the Clinical Treatment
- All non-disposable medical equipment used for patient care should be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Proper cleaning and disinfection procedures will be followed.
Safety Measures After the Visit
- The patient will be escorted out through the side door to comply with social distancing guidelines.
- Patients wash hands before leaving.
We are confident that these guidelines will help to create a safe environment for all of our patients and team members and hope that you can feel secure in the knowledge that we are doing everything in our power to provide the safest clinical conditions in order to protect our patients, our team and our families.