Got your infection control under control?

Here are ProMedCo’s top five tips for ensuring you’re compliant and keeping your patients safe.

Infection control has had its time in the sun this year, with the average Australian likely more familiar with hand sanitiser than ever before. With this shift in consumer mindset, we’re seeing more client coming to us seeking advice to ensure they are compliant with regulations and doing the right thing by their customers.

Too often we hear media reports of poor infection controls in dental practices. Most of these stories are unnerving to ProMedCo because of the lack of correct sterilisation procedures, therefore leaving patients and staff at risk. We started ProMedCo after running our own dental business, realising there was a gap in the market for value for money products, and a better understanding of this crucial area of your business.

Top five tips on sterilisation

We attend practices every day, delivering product, talking to Dentists and Practice Managers and helping them with their infection control procedures. We get plenty of questions! Here are our top five tips on sterilisation:

  1. Run standard Vacuum and Helix/Bowie Dick Test – running these tests are essential, as it ensures your autoclave is reaching all necessary parameters
  2. Always place bags paper side down – if the paper bag is facing up, your autoclave is not sterilising your equipment properly
  3. Never overlap bags – ever tried packing your autoclave like a family dishwasher? This is not the design of your autoclave and if you have too many items in the chamber, it will not work. Make sure it is single layers of products only.
  4. Don’t leave instruments in autoclave overnight – is the last thing you do for the day is turn on the autoclave? Best to readjust your schedule, as condensation that occurs in the chamber when left overnight can result in wet pouches.
  5. Wet pouches? They’re not sterilised – if any pouches are wet, they’ve failed sterilisation, and must be repacked into fresh bags and resterilised.

Better to ask the question of an expert

If your infection control measures haven’t been reviewed in 2020, we can assist to ensure your practices are in line with regulation. We can help provide businesses like yours by providing expert advice when you need it most. We recommend a steri room audit – an objective assessment of your infection control practices and procedures. We’ve run a practice ourselves, and we know the challenges with getting this right – we’re on your side and can help highlight the areas that may require improving to keep your surgery compliant.

Dedicating a steri room

Part of the dental premises must be designated as the reprocessing area for reusable instruments (including cleaning, packaging and sterilising) and not used for any other purpose. Ideally, this should be a dedicated room separate from the treatment room(s) but if not possible because of limited space, instrument reprocessing should occur well clear of the contaminated zone with good workflow processes established and where there is minimal risk of aerosol contamination of the reprocessing area. The cleaning process should flow in one direction, from contaminated to clean. If instrument washing must take place in the clinical or laboratory area due to limitations of space, then contaminated areas and instrument washing sinks must be clearly designated. Instrument flow must be in one direction: from contaminated through to clean.

What autoclave?

Despite the popularity of autoclaves many practitioners find themselves scratching their heads trying to make sense of all the models, size options and components that are out there.  Maximising your investment is key here, so ask yourself what is it you are looking for in an autoclave?  Do you want super advanced fancy features, a unit with all the bells and whistles or are you looking for a standard autoclave that will reach all its parameters and do the job without breaking the bank?  Research is vital to ensure you get the right.  ProMedCo stocks a range of autoclaves and can help you find the right one for your practice.

The buck stops with you

Dental practitioners have a common law legal duty of care to their patients, and must ensure that effective infection control measures are in place and are complied with in the practice.  So whilst your DA may be the person undertaking the sterilisation, you are ultimately the only one responsible.