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Decon and IPC FAQ's Part 3

Carrying on with the series of articles focusing on the frequently asked questions regarding dental (infection prevention control) IPC and decontamination, I thought that we would delve into the most popular topics that have been asked this month through the social media channels.

The first question that came through is broken down into three different questions:

I am due to take over a lead nurse role and wondered if I could get some help? How often should the water bottles be disinfected? Is it weekly or monthly?

If you aren’t using any additives in the water lines then I would suggest disinfecting the bottles weekly using a chlorine tablet of 1000 ppm.

If you are using an additive, such as Cleancert or Alpron, then I would suggest that monthly disinfection would be a good frequency.

How often should the autoclave data logger be read?

The cycle logs that are recorded onto the data logger should ideally be downloaded and checked on a daily basis to ensure that there have been no issues with the steriliser throughout the day.

In reality this is not always the case due to how busy your practice may be, but it is a good routine to potentially try and get in to.

How often should surgeries/decon rooms be deep cleaned?

When the National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness 2021 was being proposed to be implemented into primary care dentistry, it broke each individual area down into FR (functional risk) areas. Each of these areas was then allocated a frequency of how often it should be ‘deep’ cleaned.

Surgeries/decon rooms were considered an FR2 area, and as such were given a deep clean frequency of monthly. Clinical areas and decontamination should all be cleaned and disinfected, not only during the day around the 2m aerosol area, but also fully at the end of everyday.

Utilising a deep clean at the end of every month would be a good practice to get into to help contribute to the minimisation of any risks. The frequency may vary depending upon what a practice risk assessment uncovers.

Are you using distilled water in your ultrasonic machines?

Tap water is absolutely fine to use with a suitable detergent.

Once processed, the instruments can be rinsed with distilled water/or reverse osmosis (RO) to ensure that no additional minerals etc are placed on them before sterilising. This will help to reduce any residual spotting on the instruments.

Do I require a legionella risk assessment to be carried out every two years?

The general rule regarding this is no. Once the risk assessment has been completed and no reasonable risk of legionella has been identified, then the assessment is complete.

What must remain in place is consistent controls in order to maintain the minimal risks associated with this. Practices should arrange to review the assessment regularly and specifically when there is view that the assessment is no longer valid.

Regarding the validity, this could be:

  • A change to the water system or its use

  • A change to the use of the building where the system is installed

  • New information available about risks or control measures

  • The results of checks indicating that control measures are no longer effective (this would be the monthly hot and cold water testing results)

  • Changes to key personnel

  • A case of legionnaires’ disease/legionellosis associated with the system.

More information on this can be found here.

We have created a testing and validation guidance handbook to support the wider dental team who are looking for answers to questions such as these. The handbook has been developed to provide help and support with all things around the decontamination process including what to do if tests fail. You can also find a hot and cold record book on the website for the storing of all temperatures along with RO total dissolved solids readings.

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