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Small Steps Forward

Newsletter 20th May 2020

Information provided by Dr Jon Kozeniauskas & Erica King of refocused dental

Hello Drs,

Now the ‘games begin’.

Thanks for your feedback, it is very valuable to our Drs.

The key factor right now is that no matter where you are in the steps forward, each one is positive.

Our experiences in the re - opening process are all variable which is to be expected.

It is initially apparent that the long - standing clinics & dentists’ with well established patient bases & strong recall systems are literally back to full books within 2 weeks.

However, there are also clinics that are returning very slowly.

This newsletter we will cover:

1) COVID 19 Impact on Australia

2) Lessons From The Cluster Outbreaks

3) Staff Fear of Returning

4) Protocols You Need

1) COVID 19 Impact on Australia

This has been very low compared to other countries around the world.

Since Australia had cases of COVID19 much later than China and Europe we had their experience to build on in planning our national defence.

We have done incredibly well however there are second waves occurring both overseas and in clusters around Australia

Most relevant to our clinics are what happened in the Meatworks and McDonalds in Melbourne.

These 2 cluster outbreaks showed that one infected person has shut down entire establishments.

So, the brutal lesson from these 2 cases is that one person, staff member or patient can close your clinic.

That is a disaster because your practice would then be closed again for 2 to 4 weeks depending on how the authorities decide to handle a ‘cluster outbreak’.

Then the reputation of your clinic will be set back significantly.

So how do we avoid this dilemma?

We will cover this for you.

Your planning going forward is imperative to stay open.

Vigilance on the smallest detail is imperative.

2) Lessons From The Cluster Outbreaks

(i) Meatworks – Melbourne

One infected staffer who went undetected or failed to self - disclose spread the virus to over 60 fellow workers. This resulted in closure of the Meatworks business plus quarantine for all workers and a severely damaged reputation for the company.

Lesson: test all staff members, everyday

(ii) McDonalds – Melbourne

One infected delivery driver visited 12 McDonalds locations and resulted in closure of all 12 stores. So, one infected patient could lead to the closure of your practice and one infected delivery person could also shut you down.


- Triage every patient on the phone and when they arrive at your clinic

- Every patient entering the clinic must hand sanitise & rinse with appropriate mouth wash before your team interacts with them

- All delivery personnel must sanitise their hands when entering your practice and then leave parcels in a designated zone at the front of your practice. We would strongly suggest not allowing delivery people to walk through your practice at anytime or for any reason. Have a protocol for deliveries to isolate the parcels; take details of each delivery person & then unpack stock in a designated zone wearing PPE.

3) Staff Fear of Returning

There are many staff who are very reluctant to return to work and be in the dental practice environment because of an overwhelming fear of getting the virus.

This has been particularly evident in the reception team who are the first contact and are the most vulnerable.

We have listened to these real fears and have our reception team wearing scrubs, masks and glasses. We also recommend that reception wear a disposable gown while at the front desk and then take this off and leave in the reception area when they break for coffee or lunch.

This has the double effect on making our receptionists feel more secure plus gives the patients confidence that they are also protected.

We realise that these strategies are not a mandatory requirement from our regulating bodies but it gives everyone a sense of security and thoroughness.

Impressions and extra precautions are vital for the next period of time.

“Better to be safe than sorry”.

4) Protocols You Need

We strongly believe that every practice must have these protocols in place and communicated both verbally & in writing to all practice staff and any other stakeholders you deal with.

These protocols are of course in addition to those outlined by the ADA; Govt Health Dept & State Govts.

- Staff travelling to the practice each day. How can you ensure as the practice owner that staff don’t have to use public transport?

- Reception new uniform as discussed above

- All uniforms & footwear worn in the practice must be left in a specific zone in the practice and this area disinfected on a regular basis. All staff should change into & out of clinical clothing daily.

- Testing of all staff every day for their temperature & recording this information

- Laundry of all clothing worn by clinical and admin staff daily. How will this be managed in your practice?

- Deliveries into the practice as above. This is an important protocol to plan out & implement. Display your protocol at the front of the practice and email to all of your suppliers so that they can advise their couriers of what to expect

- Unpacking of stock. As mentioned above this should be done in a designated area wearing full PPE

- Lunches need to be thought out. Do staff bring their own each day or do you organise for delivery? Things to consider when putting this protocol together are that if your staff leave the practice to buy lunch & then return there has been an increased risk of infection coming back into the practice.

- Staff rooms where food is consumed are a ‘hot spot’ for germs to linger. Things to consider are every team member bringing their own cutlery, plates, cups, glasses for their own individual use or installing a dishwasher into this area. Plus how will food items, cutlery, china, mugs, glasses be stored in this area? Another consideration is what should all staff members wear when in the staff room? Maybe consider an individual gown that is left in this area & put on & off when sitting in the staff room.

Keep taking your careful steps forward.

Don’t forget that we are here to help you.

Kind Regards

Jon and Erica

[email protected]

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