Infection prevention and control (IPAC) is a critically important part of safe patient care. In recent years, concerns about the possible spread of blood-borne diseases, and the impact of emerging, highly contagious respiratory and other illnesses have grown. Dentists and other health care workers have a clear responsibility to establish, evaluate, continually update and monitor their IPAC strategies and protocols.
Dentists must follow the College's IPAC Standard and public health guidelines as well as the recommendations of manufacturers of sterilization and other dental office equipment to ensure patient safety at all times. We have also put together a list of frequently asked questions in this area and a self-audit checklist dentists can use as a companion to the IPAC Standard.
Here are additional resources that may be helpful.
- Sample office policy manual
- How to use chemical indicators, biological indicators, and process challenge devices to monitor sterilization
- Potential causes of a positive biological indicator
- Steps to investigate a positive biological indicator
- IPAC Self-Audit Checklist
The RCDSO is only one component of a larger system in Ontario to protect the health and well-being of patients. Public Health Ontario (PHO) provides the scientific evidence and expert guidance that shapes policies and practices for a healthier Ontario. PHO produces two IPAC checklists for dental practice: Core Elements and Reprocessing of Dental/Medical Equipment/Devices.
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has separate authority and legislation independent of the RCDSO and sets standards to be applied by local public health units. Those public health units have their own legislative mandate, expertise and role in their communities.
The RCDSO has worked with all of these partners to ensure our IPAC Standard aligns with PHO, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the PIDAC. We continue to collaborate with PHO and the MOHLTC to ensure that our standards, advice to members and the public are coherent and consistent with their guidelines and checklists for dental practices.