A select group of US Army dentists, enlisted dental specialists, and civilian dental staff assigned to the Rhineland-Pfalz Dental Activity recently participated in specialized training focused on patient safety and infection control with a special emphasis on COVID-19 protection.
The four-day virtual training event was hosted and conducted by the Organization for Safety Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP), a nonprofit organization that focuses on improving compliance with safe dental practices and on building a strong global network of recognized infection control experts.
In light of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, the Army noted how health officials say dental safety is even more important not only to patients but for providers as well.
“Infection prevention and control is paramount and requires a team effort,” said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Aileen Cabanada-Logan, infection prevention and control officer for Dental Health Command Europe. “Quality assurance measures are needed to ensure compliance so we can provide safe and effective dental care.”
The Army said that COVID-19 forced its dental clinics to re-look at the way they conduct business and provide care for beneficiaries.
“Focusing on infection control demonstrates our commitment to safety, especially patient safety,” said Cabanada-Logan. “It ensures that we are implementing the most current infection control practices and that we are adhering to required laws, regulations, guidelines, and standard best practices.”
OSAP training prepares new and existing dental team members who are responsible for infection control with the basic knowledge and tools to perform their jobs, the Army said.
“It was very valuable to hear some of the nation’s top experts give the latest on safety developments,” said Capt. (Dr.) Matthew DeJong, a general dentist assigned to the Kleber Dental Clinic in Kaiserslautern, Germany. “There are continual developments in precautionary measures regarding COVID-19 as we learn more about the disease and how it spreads.”
“Our dental clinics have done a great job keeping up with the latest developments regarding patient safety,” said DeJong. “Our standard operating procedures and daily routines are closely aligned with best practice recommendations delivered by OSAP.”
The training was very important in identifying relevant infection control laws, regulations, guidelines, standards, and best practices, DeJong said.
“Patient and dental staff safety are the highest priorities for any clinic,” DeJong said. “Regular training and updates are important aspects to keeping the highest standard of safety.”