It is the responsibility of all registrants to comply with the College's Practice Standards, Code of Ethics, and Guidelines, including the ACDH IPC Guidelines.
Practice Standards describe the minimum levels of practice required for the protection of the public. It is the responsibility of all regulated members to understand the Practice Standards and apply them to their practice of dental hygiene practice, regardless of practice setting or areas of responsibility.
Guidelines establish the professionally accepted means by which dental hygienists can achieve compliance with Practice Standards by detailing practices based on evidence and current data.
The new IPC Guidelines must be adhered to in order to meet the following Practice Standards:
Failure to follow Guidelines may constitute a breach of one or more Practice Standards, which is unprofessional conduct.
If the IPC measures outlined in the College’s IPC Guidelines achieve a higher level of safety than an employer's IPC policies and procedures, the dental hygienist has an obligation to meet the higher level of safety.
The new IPC Guidelines were developed as a collaboration between the ACDH, the College of Alberta Dental Assistants, the College of Alberta Denturists, and the College of Dental Technicians of Alberta. It is expected that registrants of these four colleges adhere to these IPC Guidelines in order to meet the Standards of Practice of their own College.
Dentists must meet the expectations set by the College of Dental Surgeons of Alberta.
The IPC Guidelines require that gowns are worn during aerosol-generating procedures.
As stated on page 13 of the ICP Guidelines regarding Protective Clothing, "Whenever spatter or spray from blood or other body fluids is anticipated during oral health procedures, a water-resistant gown is required. Clinical and laboratory coats or jackets are not a substitute for gowns where a gown is indicated.”
The Handbook of Occupational Hazards and Controls for Dental Workers has identified that spray and spatter and aerosol-generating procedures are identified as potential biological hazards.
Occupational Hazards and Controls for Dental Workers
Dental hygienists use a Point of Care Risk Assessment to determine level of risk involved in procedures prior to each interaction with the client and environment. If the procedures to be performed will cause spray or splatter, like an aerosol-generating procedure, then the dental hygienist would require a gown to protect themselves, the client, and the environment, and to prevent the spread of the infectious agent. Refer to page 53 of the IPC Guidelines for more information.