Use of common sense should result in hygienic practices being carried out in the clinical environment. However, observation of work undertaken in clinics has proven that infection control protocols often are NOT being followed.
Please read the following information thoroughly. Claimed ignorance of infection control procedures will NOT be an acceptable reason for failure to observe them.
Hospital Clinical Gowns
- A clean hospital gown must be worn in all clinics. Gowns MUST NOT be worn outside the clinical areas.
- Long-sleeved garments MUST NOT be worn beneath the gown unless it is a long sleeved gown.
- When leaving a clinic you MUST place the gown in the “dirty linen bag”.
Hands and Forearms
- Hands and forearms MUST be bare and clean, or covered by gown sleeves.
- Garment sleeves of street-wear MUST NOT come below the elbow, and should be covered by the gown sleeves.
- Jewellery, bangles, watches, finger rings, etc. MUST NOT be worn; there should be nothing on your arms/hands below your elbows.
- Fingers and fingernails should be clean, and nails MUST NOT be painted with coloured lacquer.
- Wash hands thoroughly and vigorously for 15 seconds using the hand-wash provided.
- DO NOT touch taps with your clean hands - use elbow controls or paper towels to turn off the taps.
- Dry hands using paper towels.
ALWAYS follow the above procedure before and after routine use of gloves.
- Gloves MUST be worn for all treatment of patients.
Data from controlled experiments show the following:
- A proportion of new gloves is likely to have primary holes. This proportion is very high for vinyl gloves and but much lower for latex gloves.
- Washing causes deterioration of gloves and produces secondary holes which increases leakage of all glove types.
- Washing gloves, like washing hands, does NOT assure consistent removal of all microbial contamination.
Therefore, to assure prevention of cross infection:
- Latex gloves should be worn, and a new pair should be used for each patient.
- Gloves MUST NOT be worn outside the clinics.
- Gloves must be removed and hands carefully washed in an identified hand-washing sink and dried with clean paper towels.
- Similarly, gloves used in treatment of patients MUST NOT be worn for taking materials to the dental technicians' laboratory.
- A facemask MUST be worn when treating any patient.
- The facemask MUST cover your mouth AND your nose.
- It MUST NOT be touched by gloved hands while being worn.
- The mask MUST be removed by touching the strings only and immediately discarded.
- The mask MUST NOT be worn loosely around the neck, or outside the clinical area.
- You should change your facemask for each patient.
- Protective eyewear must be used when treating any patient and when working in the pre-clinical laboratory.
- Eyewear should have side-shields fitted.
- Prescription glasses are usually inadequate to provide the required degree of protection.
- Protective eyewear with prescriptions should be worn when treating patients.
Students MUST familiarize themselves with the Infection Control Policy of Dental Health Services Victoria, and the Infection Control Protocols provided in the various RDHM Clinics or on the DHSV Intranet.
Infection Control is taught during the clinic sessions e.g. Standard Precautions, handling and disposal of sharps, disinfection of impressions, use of rubber dam, etc.
As a student registered with the Dental Practice Board of Victoria, you must also familarise yourself with the Code of Practice on Infection Control. You should refer to the following websites:
- http://www.dentprac.vic.gov.au for the DPBC Infection Control Guidlines
- http://www.icg.health.gov.au for the Department of Health and Ageing Infection Control Guidelines)
- http://www.immmunise.health.gov.au/handbook.htm for the latest edition of the Australian Immunisation Handbook
- http://www.standards.com.au for Standards Australia – Australia/New Zealand Standard AS Nzs 4815.
Students who fail to observe the Infection Control procedures outlined above could be suspended from the clinics.