POST COVID-19 REOPENING POLICY
This policy has been created based on multiple updated sources from within the dental and medical professions and government.
It outlines modifications to our normal procedures that we intend to employ once the practice can be reopened after the Covid-19 pandemic peak has subsided.
It is not known at this time whether these procedures are temporary or whether they will become a permanent feature of the way dental practices must be run to ensure patient and staff safety in the future.
The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic is still being evaluated and studied. Policies and recommendations are likely to change, in line with new scientific evidence over time.
We would like to thank all patients for their patience and for bearance during the period of temporary, face to face, practice closure and for their understanding and cooperation whilst we implement new measures at our practice.
We will of course be providing dental care to all of our patients in the safest possible environment. We greatly appreciate your assistance with any new or modified procedures at the practice.
PATIENT COMMUNICATION BEFORE REOPENING
We will be contacting patients and confirming appointments ahead of their scheduled time.
We will request that all patients who are attending Wensleydale Dental Practice update their medical and dental history forms beforehand via our new online portal. These forms will now be in electronic format and we will only provide paper forms as a last resort. To access the portal you will receive a link via text message and/or e-mail.
The assessment forms now include a pre-screening form, which will allow us to assess your level of risk for Coronavirus before you attend the practice.
NEW MEASURES TO REDUCE THE RISK OF COVID-19 TRANSMISSION
Our normal cross infection control protocols at Wensleydale Dental Practice already protects against all known pathogens which are already woven in to all clinical activity carried out at the practice.
It should be remembered that dental practices are already a very clean environment compared to public areas and there is no evidence of Covid-19 transmission occurring in increased rates in dentists or their staff.
We have collectively evaluated all of the updated guidance and observed what measures have been put in place in other countries. We feel that the measures which are outlined in this policy will reduce the risk to the minimum level at our practice.
Please be assured that all of our clinical staff will also be complying with our updated procedures to reduce the risk of cross infection on both directions. All members of our team have received further training in many different areas to ensure we have a robust system in pace.
BEFORE ATTENDING THE PRACTICE
We will carry out a pre-attendance assessment via your completed medical history and assessment forms approximately two days before your appointment and, if necessary, a follow-up telephone conversation to assess relative coronavirus infection status. Our staff will contact you to remind you of this if we have not received your completed forms. If you have any difficulties with completing the forms we can help you with this over the telephone. A dentist may also carry out a telephone consultation with you to assess your dental problem, prior to your visit so that a treatment plan and cost estimate can be derived.
If we feel that you are at a risk of having coronavirus, even if you are asymptomatic, we will respectfully delay your booking of any appointments with us for at least 14 days. If we do not receive the completed questionnaire in time and we are unable to contact you, we may need to cancel your appointment.
We recommend that patients in the high risk groups for developing complications from coronavirus delay non-urgent dental treatment for as long as possible until the trend of the pandemic becomes clear. If you are in a high risk group and do require emergency treatment, we will schedule your appointment at the beginning of the day. To find out whether you are in a high or very high group, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/whos-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/
When travelling to the practice, we would recommend that you limit close contact with other members of the public as far as possible. We have implemented a one way system as much as possible throughout the practice and we would be grateful if patients could arrive via the rear of the practice. For patients with limited mobility, please continue to use the front entrance and when you arrive, please ring the doorbell and wait to be greeted by a member of our team, so that we can ensure you enter the practice safely.
ARRIVING AT THE PRACTICE
When you attend the practice, please leave your personal items within your car as much as possible.
We will greet patients outside of the practice and carry out a further Covid-19 screening, by taking your temperature with a no-touch thermometer. If your temperature is 37.8 degrees Celsius or above, you will not be permitted to enter the practice and will be asked to return home to self-isolate as per the current government guidelines.
As we have limited seating within our waiting rooms, to allow for social distancing, we will not be permitting patients to enter till 5 minutes prior to their appointment time. One adult is allowed to attend with a child or adult with disabilities; please do not bring additional family members with you unless they are happy to wait in the car or outside of the building. If you are a single parent and are unable to find childcare, please do advise our reception team.
We intend to eliminate waiting inside the practice and at reception. Accordingly, appointments will be staggered so that patient do not arrive or leave at the same time as other patients as far as we are able to manage.
Our restrooms will be locked to patients and will only be available for urgent situations. Should you require to use them, please speak with a member of our team.
If you are well, we will direct you the designated waiting room and request that you do the following before, during and after your appointment:
The Wensleydale Dental Team have spent time critically looking at every aspect of the practice with a view to removing all non-essential items that can potentially be the cause of infection.
You will find that the practice may appear to be quite bare when you attend.
All clinical and common areas, including door handles and surfaces will be regularly disinfected in between patients, in addition to our normal cross infection control procedures.
We will be providing a buffer period between patients to allow additional time for decontamination procedures, also allow for any treatments that may overrun and allow preparation time for the next patient. This will help to ensure that patients are not kept waiting unnecessarily outside of the practice. However, in some unforeseeable circumstances, dental emergencies can become more complicated than expected. We will do our upmost to keep to scheduled appointment times but given the nature of the treatments we will be providing please do accept our apologies in anticipation if we should keep you waiting.
All future appointments will be confirmed by email, text or telephone to limit your time at reception.
All dental staff will be using personal protective equipment in line with current recommendations and evidence.
We apologise in advance for the necessary reduction in social interaction that this will necessitate. Whilst our masks may make us appear impersonal and distant, please be assured we are still the same friendly team underneath it all!
We are especially mindful that many dental treatments are aerosol-generating procedures (AGP’s). It is difficult for us to carry out some dental procedures without generation of some level of aerosols. Aerosols suspended in the air are theoretically a source of infection which we obviously wish to keep to a minimum. Currently, dental literature suggests:
We therefore feel that our normal dental procedures can be carried out with minimal risk by using high volume suction, rubber dam when appropriate, surgical and FFP2 or FFP3 masks for aerosol generating procedures.
Despite the financial impact of the coronavirus, Wensleydale Dental Practice will not be increasing its fees unless it becomes absolutely necessary. However, the time taken to carry out treatment with the use of aerosols means that we must extend the appointment by 60 minutes to allow for a fallow period following on from the treatment. The cost of the fallow period will be included in to the fees should you require an aerosol generating procedure.
The vast majority of our patients are otherwise healthy, without coronavirus and we are confident that we are able to provide dental care for our patients in as normal environment as possible, whilst bearing in mind our responsibilities to mitigate risks of infection spread as far as is practically possible.
This policy will be constantly reviewed and updated as necessitated by circumstances over time.
If you have any questions regarding this policy or about your dental care at Wensleydale Dental Practice, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01480 453003 or email Info@wensleydaledental.co.uk