Staff perceptions of the cleanliness of surfaces can influence the choice of environmental cleaning products in a dental practice.

Dr Roslyn Franklin1

1Amalgamate, Millbridge, Australia

Background:

Human perception of the cleanliness of surfaces can influence how strictly dental staff follow infection control (IC) procedures. During an audit in a Perth dental practice conducted in 2019, I discovered that established routine environmental cleaning procedures were not being followed. A variety of disinfectant products were being used instead of neutral detergent wipes in environmental cleaning; a change not cleared with management. My role was to investigate the suitability of the introduced disinfectants, compare them with neutral detergents and recommend the most suitable environmental cleaning product/s.

Method or Actions:

A risk management approach was taken in which a variety of aspects were investigated including staff perceptions of cleanliness, various cleaning products’ composition and contact time, equipment manufacturer’s recommendations, bioburden of surfaces, and time management requirements.  I also conducted a review of the current literature, latest standards and guidelines, and liaised with industry experts.

Results:

While both disinfectants and detergent wipes can be effective in infection control, the disinfectants were not used correctly and there was concern about short and long-term effects on the surfaces and warranty requirements of dental equipment.  The product Clinell Universal wipes, a combined detergent and disinfectant, was recommended. This was well accepted by the practice manager, owner, and staff.

Conclusion:

Human perception of surface cleanliness can cause unplanned changes in dental practice IC procedures, even when these perceptions are invalidated. This can lead to confusion and a breakdown of the established procedures. Regular IC audits are a vital tool in assisting with IC compliance.


Biography:

Roslyn graduated from the University of Western Australia’s School of Dentistry in 1994. She worked in private and government dental practices before side-stepping to work as a trainer/assessor for dental assistants, and then in compliance in a registered training organisation. On re-entering the dental industry in 2015, Roslyn created her business, Amalgamate, in which she provides services and advice to dental practices on infection prevention & control (IP&C), work health & safety (WH&S) and accreditation.  With her motivation to always learn more, she completed a Certificate IV in WH&S in 2016 and a Graduate Certificate in IP&C at Griffith University in 2018.

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