As dental offices across the country are planning for reopening, infection control has become the issue with the top priority that practices need to address if they want to return to regular business. Among various infection control procedures, one area that practices could easily forget is the patient waiting room.
We have created a video including all necessary changes dental offices need to make to their waiting room below.
How to Change the Dental Waiting Room for the New Normal
To minimize the risk of cross-contamination, practices should begin by applying social distancing rules. Place seats at least 6 feet apart, or use barriers between seats. Secondly, hand sanitizer, tissues, and no-touch receptacles for used tissues must be available. Thirdly, offices should remove unnecessary touchable items such as magazines, remotes, and toys.
Additionally, practices could implement strategies to minimize in-person contact between patients, such as changing the scheduling and payment process. We recommend dental offices to schedule appointments with at least an hour added in between to have enough time for disinfection. Moreover, ask patients to come alone if possible. If a patient requires assistance, ask them to limit the number of friend or family member to one person. Furthermore, you could ask your patients to wait in the cars until they are asked to come in.
Finally, frequently wipe all touchable surfaces in the dental waiting room, such as doorknobs, light switches, tables, chair arms, etc., with cleaners. If possible, you could create and display posters or instructions about COVID-19 safety inside the waiting area for your patients to read to support the community in combating the virus.
Read our full checklist on every strategy dental practices could implement if they want to reopen safely.