On May 6, BC’s Premier announced BC’s Restart Plan. This is a phased approach to protect people and ensure that our province will rebound from COVID-19.
Phase 2 of this plan was to begin rolling out in mid-May. This includes the restart of dental services under enhanced protocols as early as May 19. As of today, we are still waiting for those protocols to be announced.
In the meantime, we wanted to provide some information on “enhanced protocols” that will affect denturists and other health-related professionals as BC restarts its economy.
What are “enhanced protocols”
The government says that dental services can reopen under “enhanced protocols.” These are enhancements to established infection prevention and control (IPAC) processes, procedures, and strategies.
Reviewing and strengthening IPAC protocols will ensure that dental care providers can operate safely under Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan.
How do the enhanced protocols affect when denture clinics can reopen?
Until the enhanced protocols are released, denturists in BC must comply with the current orders and direction of the Provincial Health Officer and the College of Denturists of BC.
We remain cautiously optimistic that the enhanced protocols will be available before May 19. However, this has not yet been confirmed.
Once the enhanced protocols have been released, we will have the information we need to reopen in a way that ensures the safety of our staff, our patients, and the general public.
How are “enhanced protocols” different from protocols already in place?
Until details on the enhanced protocols are released, we do not know how they will differ from our current IPAC protocols.
What protocols are already in place for denturists?
Denturists in Canada operate under strict IPAC guidelines. These guidelines set the standard for how to safely do our jobs and protect patient and staff health.
Among the major IPAC protocols that Canadian denturists already follow are:
- employing processes and procedures to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases.
- using a comprehensive screening process with all patients to monitor infectious health concerns.
- adhering to a strict set of IPAC protocols and procedures before, during, and after each patient visit to our clinic.
- following strict IPAC protocols when we clean, sterilize, and disinfect equipment, tools, and the clinic environment.
- identifying and eliminating physical and chemical hazards that could put our patients and staff at risk.
- encouraging our clinical staff to keep current with immunizations for infectious diseases including measles, mumps, rubella, influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis B virus, and varicella.
- providing safety training, personal protective equipment, and the equipment, tools, and supplies to staff so that they can perform their jobs safely.
Who will set the enhanced protocols?
The enhanced protocols for community-based health providers are being collaboratively developed by the Provincial Health Office, regulatory health profession colleges in BC, and key stakeholders.
Regulatory health profession colleges are established under provincial law and exist to regulate professions in the public interest. They ensure that services provided by those professionals are done so in a safe, ethical, and knowledgeable manner.
The college that regulates denturists in BC is the College of Denturists of BC.