Patient Support - Covid-19 Policy
This policy has been created based on multiple updated sources from within the dental and medical professions and the 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/orthodontic practices must be run to ensure patient and staff safety in the future. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is still being evaluated and studied and policies and recommendations are likely to change in line with new scientific evidence over time. We would like to thank all of our patients for their patience and forbearance during the period of temporary practice closure and for their understanding and cooperation whilst we implement new measures at the practice. We will of course be providing orthodontic 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.
We are open
The practice is now open for patients who require essential orthodontic treatment. This will be extended to other patient groups as the lockdown restrictions are eased further, as follows:
- Routine adjustment appointments
- Removable retainer checks
- Bonding or fixed appliances
- Debonding of fixed appliances
We will initially be seeing:
- Patients with emergency problems or other orthodontic problems that require urgent assessment and treatment.
(Please note that these appointments will be triaged by our reception team and allocated as advised by the clinical team and we will not booking any Routine Review appointments or New Patient appointments until we have completed all remedial care of our existing patients)
We will be contacting all patients and confirming appointments ahead of their scheduled time, please do not contact the practice for routine appointments and do not just ‘turn up’ at the practice for an emergency appointment as you will be turned away.
We will request that all patients who are attending Hinchley Wood Practice update their standard medical history forms, please also advise reception if you have any new medical issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.
We will then assess your level of risk for coronavirus infection before you attend the surgery.
New measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission
Our normal cross-infection control protocols at Hinchley Wood Practice, against all previously known pathogens, are already woven into all clinical activity carried out at the practice. It should be remembered that a dental/orthodontic practice is already a very clean environment compared to public areas and there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission occurring in increased rates in dentists, orthodontists 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 risk to the minimum level at the 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 in both directions.
Before Attending the practice
We will carry out a pre-attendance assessment via your completed Medical History forms before your appointment.
If we feel that you are at risk of having possibly been infected, even if you are asymptomatic, we will respectfully request for you to delay booking any appointments with us for at least one month.
We recommend that patients in the high-risk groups for developing complications from coronavirus delay non-essential orthodontic treatment for as long as possible until the trend of the pandemic becomes clear.
When travelling to the practice, we would recommend that you limit close contact with other members of the public as far as possible. We ask all patients to wait outside the building or in their car and we will text or phone when we are ready for you to enter the practice.
We ask for all other patients and family members to remain in their cars until called into the practice.
Please do not bring any unnecessary belongings into the building with you as you will not be allowed to take these up to the surgery with you.
Arriving at the practice
When you attend the practice, the front door will remain locked. There will be a hand sanitising station outside the building by the front door and we request that you use this before entering.
At reception, we will take your temperature with a no-touch thermometer. If your temperature is above 37.8°C, you will be asked to return home and self- isolate as per current government guidelines.
We will require you to maintain recommended social distancing (currently 2m) whilst in the building (except, of course, when you're actually seeing the orthodontist)
We respectfully ask that all patients try to avoid touching all surface, door handles etc within the practice as much as possible.
The waiting room area will be available but strictly limited in capacity, therefore we intend to reduce or eliminate waiting inside the practice and at reception as much as possible. Accordingly, appointments will be staggered so that patients do not arrive or leave at the same time as other patients as far as we are able to manage. In addition to this there will be a new ‘one way” system in place to exit the building directly into the car-park.
For everyone’s safety, we intend to reduce the public use of the restrooms as much as possible. Therefore, please remember to go to the toilet at home before travelling to your appointment. We also request that you MUST brush your teeth at home before attending as you will not be allowed to do this at the practice. When using the restrooms, please do your best to ensure that you leave the facilities as you would expect to find them and wash your hand thoroughly, following the instructions on the poster displayed. The restrooms will be regularly disinfected after use.
If you are well, we will direct you straight to the surgery and request that you do the following before or during your appointment:
- Use the hand sanitiser provided
- We may ask you to use a Hydrogen Peroxide mouthwash before some orthodontic treatments
The Hinchley Wood 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, with some of the seating area marked off. There will be no magazines or leaflets in the waiting areas.
All clinical and common areas including door handles and surfaces will be regularly disinfected throughout the day, in addition to our normal surface cleaning protocols between patients.
Hinchley Wood Practice will be providing a buffer period between patients to allow additional time for additional decontamination procedures, allow for any treatment overruns and allow preparation time for the next patient so that they do not need to wait in the reception area for too long.
All future appointments will be made and confirmed by email or telephone to limit your time spent at reception. During the initial ‘ catch-up’ phase of our recovery from this prolonged period of closure, there may be an increase in the length of time between your regular appointments.
All clinical 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!
Our use of our normal high-volume suction reduces aerosol production by over 90%.
Our regular surgical facemasks filter approximately 60% of remaining airborne particles.
FFP2 and FFP3 masks filter 94% and 99% respectively of airborne particles in both directions (patient to clinician and clinician to patient).
We are especially mindful that many dental treatments are aerosol-generating procedures (AGP’s). It is difficult for us to carry out some orthodontic procedures without generation of some level of aerosol.
We therefore feel that our normal orthodontic procedures can be carried out with minimal risk by the use of high-volume suction, surgical and FFP2 masks and, in aerosol generating procedures FFP3 masks as appropriate.
In the initial phase of our re-opening, we will not be under-taking any treatment procedures which are AGPs (Aerosol Generating Procedures) until advised that we are able to do so by our governing bodies.
The vast majority of our patients are otherwise healthy without coronavirus infection and we are confident that we are able to provide orthodontic care for these patients in as normal an environment as possible while 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 orthodontic care at Hinchley Wood Practice, please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to all our patients and families for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.