Reducing the strain on your staff – David Gibson EschmannFeatured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 5th October 2019
In the modern dental practice, routine reigns supreme. With higher patient volumes, a constant need for speed and efficiency and demands growing all the time, it makes sense that staff can soon feel overstretched.
As such, professionals need to look at ways to reduce the strain on the team whilst also continuing to provide exceptional service in a timely, efficient manner. This is especially true when it comes to infection control.
Stress leads to mistakes
It’s no secret that infection control can be a time consuming process. Instruments need to be autoclaved, surfaces need to be decontaminated and stringent standards need to be met to limit the chances of disease being spread.
By combining the time needed to effectively perform decontamination to the correct standard with the countless other tasks that fall under the remit of dental professionals, it’s easy to see why people can quickly feel overburdened by their duties. Whilst a bit of stress is not necessarily a bad thing, research has proven that constant stress can quickly lead to professionals making more mistakes – and in a medical environment this can be disastrous.[i]
As well as making more mistakes during actual treatment, research suggests that patients who are treated by stressed professionals are more likely to experience adverse effects that are unrelated to their reason for visiting in the first place. In dentistry this could easily mean that an overburdened dental nurse may forget to properly decontaminate an instrument, or someone may forget to wear gloves – both perfect examples of ways that a small mistake can easily lead to infection being spread.
Not an isolated incident
This sort of malpractice doesn’t sound like something that could happen easily, but just a quick Google search will reveal numerous examples of dentists and dental team members being caught breaking infection control protocols, failing to meet the expected standards and putting patients at risk.
One of the more famous recent examples was that of Mark Roberts – a dentist who in 2017 was found to routinely break infection control regulations by reusing equipment that should have been disposed after use, including syringes, anaesthetic cartridges and endodontic files.[ii]Whilst this is an extreme case, an older news article from 2012 reveals that according to data gathered by the Care Quality Commission, almost 10% of UK practices at that time were in violation of Department of Health guidelines on how to properly disinfect instruments after use.[iii]
Breaches included autoclaves that were not clean, overflowing bins and staff being unable to tell which items were single use or multi use, all of which could lead to patients and staff alike becoming infected from certain pathogens. Perhaps what is most startling is that when asked about some of these failures, a common response was that staff were too stretched in their duties and busy to ensure that decontamination had been properly achieved. This only goes to show that stressful working conditions are a core reason why breaches happen, reiterating the importance of streamlining workflows so there is less chance of mistakes occurring.
A technical revolution
Technology in the dental market has progressed leaps and bounds in the last few years. With more and more systems becoming digital and advances in technology continuing to push the capabilities of decontamination equipment such as autoclaves, it’s easy to streamline certain procedures and remain compliant so that your staff can reduce their stress levels and concentrate on providing exceptional care.
The new Little Sister SES 2020N autoclave from Eschmann is a particularly good choice for those looking to make their infection control workflows more efficient. Featuring a large, 17-litre capacity chamber, the autoclave can accommodate five full instrument trays, meaning it has to be run less regularly in order to effectively keep your instruments infection free. Furthermore, the Little Sister SES 2020N is built to meet all of the latest EN 13060 standards and has a feature that allows you to automate your validation tests, helping you to remain compliant with minimal fuss.
Concentrate on care
The stresses and strains of the modern dental practice can feel overwhelming, but that doesn’t mean that it’s excusable for standards to slip. By investing in equipment that helps to streamline decontamination processes you can ensure that your patients will remain safe whilst also freeing up time to give them the quality care they deserve.
For more information on the highly effective and affordable range of decontamination equipment and products from Eschmann, please visit www.eschmann.co.uk or call 01903 753322
[i]Science Nordic. Stressed Doctors Make More Mistakes. Link: http://sciencenordic.com/stressed-doctors-make-more-mistakes[Last accessed March 19].
[ii]Dental Nursing. Dentist Kicked Off Register for Exposing Patients to Infection Risk. Link: https://www.dental-nursing.co.uk/news/dentist-kicked-off-for-exposing-patients-to-infection-risk[Last accessed March 19].
[iii]The Telegraph. Dirty Dentists Putting Patients At Risk of Infection. Link: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9592763/Dirty-dentists-putting-patients-at-risk-of-infection.html[Last accessed March 19].