Advocacy

ADHA Releases Interim Guidance on
Returning to Work

What’s New? 6/18/2020

On June 17, 2020, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released revised, “Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings During the COVID-19 Response.” There are two substantive changes. In summary, any reference to the 15 minute waiting time prior to sanitizing/cleaning has been removed. In addition, the time for patients to report COVID-19 exposure or diagnosis is changed from 14 days post-appointment to 2 days post-appointment. You may view the complete CDC here.

 

View the Report Here

Introduction

In order to protect the dental hygienist, the dental team and patients, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) continues to support the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that balance the need to provide necessary services while minimizing risk to patients and dental healthcare personnel (DHCP).

ADHA has developed this document to provide ongoing interim guidance to dental hygienists on returning to work. The information direct from the CDC’s Guidance for Dental Settings is included throughout the document and appears in an orange box.

Any additions to CDC’s guidance from ADHA are denoted with **.

As licensed health care providers, dental hygienists have a responsibility to uphold the highest standards of clinical practice to ensure the health and safety of the individuals they serve and the team members with whom they interact.

The following considerations have been prepared utilizing guidelines, regulations and resources from key resources including, but not limited to, CDC, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP).

ADHA recommends that all dental hygienists follow the Standards for Clinical Dental Hygiene Practice, which state that dental hygienists “follow the most current guidelines to reduce the risks of health-care-associated infections in patients and illnesses and injuries in health care personnel.”

It is also recommended that all dental hygienists review the ADHA Code of Ethics and verify that their individual malpractice insurance is current prior to returning to work.

Key considerations for performing non-COVID-19 clinical care during the COVID-19 pandemic, including potential for patient harm if care is deferred and level of community transmission, are summarized in the Framework for Healthcare Systems Providing Non-COVID-19 Clinical Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Dental Healthcare Personnel (DHCP) should stay informed and regularly consult with the state or local health department for region-specific information and recommendations. Monitor trends in local case counts and deaths, especially for populations at higher risk for severe illness.