Hand Washing in the Dental Surgery

  • July 13, 2015

    Hand Washing in the Dental Surgery

    I recently spent a morning out shopping at my local shopping centre and noticed something while visiting the centre’s facilities. While waiting in line in the women’s toilets, a lady emerged from her toilet stall texting on her mobile as she walked to the wash basins. Shortly afterwards, another lady left her toilet stall texting on her mobile as well.  Perhaps though, this was a one-off incident I had witnessed but wouldn’t you want to wash your hands before handling your phone? Do we all perhaps need reminding of why hand washing is so important??

    When I was studying dentistry at University, the importance of hand washing was taught as the most important defence against infections. But I wonder how many dentists and dental staff might need a gentle reminder about proper hand hygiene? Do you sometimes get so busy at work that your hand hygiene isn’t as thorough as it should be?

    Hand Hygiene Requirements in the Dental Surgery

    Hand hygiene is the single most important strategy in preventing health care associated infections and protecting you and your patients. End of story!

    National Hand Hygiene Initiave (NHHI)

    Australia has a NHHI whose purpose is to improve Australian healthcare workers hand hygiene practices and reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections. This initiative was set up by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (yes, the same commission who produced the standards for dental accreditation) and is coordinated by Hand Hygiene Australia.

    Here is a little quick quiz to test your knowledge on hand hygiene….(answers at the end of the article)

    Question 1: What is the most efficient product to use in the dental surgery when your hands are visibly clean?

    1. Bar soap and running water
    2. Liquid soap and running water
    3. Alcohol based hand rub
    4. Running water only

    Question 2: What is the most efficient product to use in the dental surgery when your hands are visibly soiled?

    1. Bar soap and running water
    2. Liquid soap and running water
    3. Alcohol based hand rub
    4. Running water only

    How did you go?

    The Australian Dental Association Infection Control Guidelines state that a dental practice must implement a hand hygiene program consistent with the Hand Hygiene Initiative from Hand Hygiene Australia. This means your practice’s Infection Control Manual should contain protocols for hand cleaning, staff training and review protocols.

    Do you want to learn more or consolidate what you already know?

    • Take the free test at Hand Hygiene Australia; it contains illustrated information interspersed with assessment questions.
    • Check out the this video released by the American Dental Association

    Dental Accreditation

    If you are heading down the path of accreditation, your practice’s Infection Control Manual is one of the documents required to be submitted. But, even if you are not ready to consider accreditation just yet, make the time for to review your practice’s Infection Control Manual  or develop one as soon as possible. This will ensure all policies and procedures are up-to-date and that all staff has received appropriate infection control training to minimise or prevent the risk of transmission of infectious diseases. And don’t forget to include protocols on hand hygiene!

    Need help to manage your dental accreditation journey?  Amalgamate is available to assist you – Please contact Dr Roslyn Franklin via the contact page or phone 0428 917 700.  I look forward to hearing from you.

    Quiz Answers

    Question 1: C       Question 2: B