We hope that this message finds you and your loved ones in good health!
As we are navigating through these uncertain times, we wanted to reach out to you and affirm that you should have any questions or concerns, we are here to help as we are up and running and our work doesn't stop!
Over the last few weeks we have been receiving inquiries regarding what the practices should look ahead to - when constructing a new office, based on current situation and rapidly developing events.
We are keeping updated on the most recent documentation from IPAC, and have reached out to RCDSO to see whether there were any new guidelines that we need to review for ongoing projects in order to implement these as we go through the construction process. These were two of the latest ones we saw:
In his address by Dr. Flavio Turchet, President, Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, issued yesterday, here is the paragraph that is pertinent to us all at this point:
"Meanwhile no decisions have yet been made concerning minimum requirements for PPE supplies, modifications to office design or the need for additional equipment. We do NOT recommend that you make any major purchase or renovation until an evaluation of requirements has been completed by the College."
This of course concerns projects that have not started yet from a permitting perspective. For any ongoing projects, the intent, we believe, is to not jump to spending money on any expensive base building systems upgrades, until a consolidated document is issued by the RCDSO (or other applicable governing body).
At this time, and to the best of our knowledge, there has been no concrete information from a reliable source available for us to follow - please feel free to reach out and let us know if / when you have heard otherwise.
For those of you who are interested in a bit of light reading, there are many speculations happening around the following topics:
1) Air filtration units, HEPA Filters and Negative air pressurization.
2) Humidity Controls for the office environment.
3) UV or Borderline UV LED lighting and UV filtration system added lighting.
4) Air Ionization to help reduce air contaminants.
5) Antibacterial Door hardware that uses copper alloys.
6) Various Acrylic / Glass sneeze guard solutions (similar to what you may find at your grocery store cash register).
The list goes on, but we stress, at this point, none of these are regulatory requirements to the best of our knowledge.
Having said all of the above, we do believe that as part of getting back to normal, and as a follow up on what was issued by Government of Ontario - updated April 30th 2020:
There will be a significant behavioral change at this time, which may alter the way offices are functioning and here are a few additional measures, which are simple to do and we believe may bring positive impact to patient experience in your new spaces:
1) Installation of signage and copies of government issued regulations regarding safety procedures for hand washing, personal hygiene and the now common 2 meter or 6' social distancing.
2) Installation of floor indicators for social distancing.
3) Installation of sanitizer dispensers at all major points of interaction between clients and staff (and keeping a well stocked PPE inventory in time for opening doors)
4) Temporary sneeze guards - will be also acting as psychological re-assurance for patients and staff, especially in the early stages of coming back to normal, and to be used until new permanent procedures and regulations are in place.
5) Conversion of as many client interactions to remote format - whether it is appointment confirmation, prepayment or payment online, we believe it will make the difference in the often constrained confines of a typical practice, to help maintain social distancing.
6) Alter scheduling and patients appointments - to ensure adherence to required number of persons in each clinic, based on regulation to follow.
7) Instituting a proper cleaning protocol of the office, please review the cleaning guidelines - in this public health resource to review:
8) Follow and review regulations for Dental Offices and Healthcare Facilities in other provinces - who are slated to open their practices ahead of Ontario - please have a look at the link to the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan outline - released April 27th:
All in all, we are presently at a time of flux, there are multiple components to this situation - some which concern our physical environment, and others that relate more to the psychological welfare of our colleagues, staff and patients.
We are continuing with our efforts to self-educate, keep abreast of current developments and try and assist our clients as best as we can, while looking forward to continuing our path of adaptation to the new normal.
We welcome your questions, comments and feedback and will be pleased to elaborate on any site specific Design questions you may have regarding your existing or upcoming practices!