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In an effort to outline safety measures for dental hygienists returning to work this week, the American Dental Hygiene Association (ADHA) has published interim guidelines on returning to their offices.
In an effort to outline safety measures for dental hygienists returning to work this week, the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) has published interim guidelines on returning to their offices.
These guidelines are based on recommendations and regulations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP).
Resources should be shared to ensure best practice decisions are made to support the health and safety of the entire team and the patients you serve. The latest CDC Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance During the COVID-19 Response can be of use. Teams should identify one member to regularly monitor national resources and update the entire team on key recommendations that will impact the practice.
Teams should also conduct an inventory of PPE and other infection control supplies. If the practice is unable to acquire appropriate supplies to manage infection control, reconsideration of the decision to reopen the practice is warranted, the ADHA states.
Before returning to work, all dental team members should be tested for COVID-19, where feasible, following state and local regulations. Individuals who test positive or present with symptoms should not report to work and should follow quarantine protocols.
If there is a surge of COVID-19 cases, the practice should reconsider the decision to reopen. Risk level incidence should be continually monitored, as there may be times when it will be important to stop all nonessential procedures if there is an uptick in COVID-19 incidence.
A soft opening is recommended by the ADHA to ensure all team members are familiar with new procedures and routines.
Upon reopening, teams should be assigned specific duties and review staff understanding of all procedures.
The ADHA suggests that dental hygienists follow the Standards for Clinical Dental Hygiene Practice and review the ADHA Code of Ethics before returning to work. Also, state-by-state recommendations and mandates should be reviewed and followed.
For the full list of ADHA guidelines, click here.