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Infection control in uncertain times

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Infection control in uncertain times

16th Feb 2021 in Dental, Animal Health, Healthcare

Eschmann invites practice manager Amy Booth to talk about infection control changes.

To glean a better insight into the ways COVID has impacted infection control protocols, Eschmann spoke to Amy Booth, Practice Manager of Delph Dental Practice in Swadlincote, Derbyshire.

I think one of the most significant changes we've seen with regards to infection control is attitudes among both patients and staff. Before the pandemic patients weren't very aware of the importance of infection control, but now people are educated and more prepared, which has helped improve compliance with cross-contamination prevention in the practice.

I think staff are more aware too - we always knew infection control was paramount, but now we are definitely more vigilant than before and really going the distance when it comes to ensuring our patients and staff remain safe.

Although we did have a couple of issues with patients not wanting to adhere to the rules like wearing masks at first, I've noticed that compliance has increased hugely over time and now we don't have any problems at all. People want treatment and are willing to take the necessary measures to ensure they receive the care they require.

In terms of the biggest changes to our infection control routines, government guidance has had a huge impact on the ways we operate. As well as making masks mandatory in the practice, using enhanced levels of PPE and ensuring that hand sanitiser is readily available for all of our patients, we've also increased the amount of cleaning we perform during the day.

One extra step we're taken is to ensure that patients remain outside until it is time for their appointment to help guarantee they are at the minimum level of risk. We've also assigned separate surgeries for AGPs and those that don't, and we've implemented a COVID-19 questionnaire that helps us screen patients the day before they arrive to ensure they are safe to visit.

At the outbreak of the pandemic, we had to close our practice for three months. However, we steadily reopened by first providing emergency care and then heading back towards a semblance of normality by July 2020. This meant that we had a huge increase in patients to see, including lots of new patients looking for treatment. It's been a very busy time and I think a lot of that is down to the fact that we've had to adjust appointments in order to fit with government guidelines.

We've extended patient appointments which means we're currently seeing fewer people per day, but we also invested in air ventilator devices in order to help cut down the fallow time so that we could continue to run effectively.

Throughout all of these changes, having our systems from Eschmann has been a huge benefit, We actually purchased a new SES 2010 autoclave from Eschmann during the pandemic as our previous autoclave broke, and the team were so helpful.

The system is really useful and reliable and the Autolog feature means we can easily keep track of the cycles we run, which is great for our records. We also have a washer disinfector unit from Eschmann - this has really helped put peoples' minds at ease as they know that it offers an extra level of protection. This has also been really reliable and streamlined the infection control processes for us during this time.