While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.
Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable.
Our office follows infection control recommendations, called Universal Precautions, made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the CDC and OSHA. We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. In light of COVID-19, these agencies have made some changes which we will now be incorporating into the way we handle infection control in our office.
We would like to share these new safety measures with you that our team members are following daily:
- Our team has had refresher training in proper hand washing techniques. This may seem basic, however, it is the most important thing we can do to prevent spread of the virus
- They have practiced the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to caring for a patient to prevent contamination.
- We have everyone in the office take their temperature at the beginning of every day and we will immediately send home any team member with an elevated temperature (100.4 F and above).
- Limiting the number of staff providing their care to facilitate social distancing within the office and among team members.
We would like you to know what you can expect next time you are scheduled with our office:
- Our office will communicate with you beforehand to ask a few COVID-19 screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again when you arrive for your appointment. Some examples of those questions are:
- Are you having difficulties breathing?
- Do you have a cough?
- Have you experienced recent loss of taste or smell?
- Are you in contact with any confirmed COVID-19 positive patients?
- About 30 minutes before your appointment you will receive an email or text message to virtually check-in for your appointment when you arrive at our parking lot. Please follow the prompts for the virtual check-in. We will either text you or call you when it is clear for you to enter the building. Our staff member will meet you by our front door. We will take your temperature, and review the screening questions again.
- Face masks are required upon entering/exiting our building. This is our preference and required by the Sonoma County health order.
- We have hand sanitizer that we will ask you to use when you enter and exit the office.
- Our waiting room chairs have been reduced in number and spaced 6 ft apart. If you are waiting for a friend or family member to be seen, we ask that you stay in your car. Accommodations will be made for parents of minor children or special needs patients who need support during their visit.
- We will no longer offer magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.
- You are welcome to bring your own water, blanket, headphones, and reading material to make your visit more comfortable
- Appointments will be managed to allow for disinfecting purposes and social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.
- You will also see changes in the way we handle treatment consultations, financial arrangements, taking payments and scheduling appointments.
In general, we are trying our best to reduce any potential sources of infection. This can include the paper charts which hold your patient forms and our clinical notes. In our digital age, more dental offices are transitioning to a paperless patient chart system. During the time our office was closed, we wisely invested in the time and are proud to announce that we have paperless patient charts. This means that all patient information, health history, etc will be collected electronically in a secure portal. We are using iPads in the office to obtain any needed signatures on consent forms and treatment plans. You are also welcome to bring in your own device and connect to our wi-fi, to fill out any needed forms.
Amidst all of these changes to our office and our usual routine, we are continuing to provide the same quality care in a warm and friendly way. We promise that we are still smiling underneath our masks and face shields! We are re-opening on July 6th, 2020 and are happy to answer any questions you may have about our infection control and safety protocols.
Thank you for being our patients, neighbors and friends. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming you back!
Dr. Laura Ellefson, Dr. Kasia Marelich and your Santa Rosa Dentistry Team