Standard Precautions

Standard precautions are a philosophy that considers all patients to be infected with pathogenic organisms. Because of this, certain basic infection control measures must be employed during the care of all patients. Blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) may be contaminated with a variety of pathogens. Most carriers are unaware of their condition and therefore it is important that the same infection control protocol be applied for all patients. Assume that all patients are carriers of infection. This safeguards not only the dental healthcare provider but the patients as well.

1. Develop a written health program for DHCP that includes policies, procedures and guidelines for education and training; immunizations; exposure prevention and postexposure management; medical conditions, work-related illness and associated work restrictions; contact dermatitis and latex hypersensitivity; and maintenance of records, data management and confidentiality (IB) (5,16–18,22).
2. Establish referral arrangements with qualified healthcare professionals to ensure prompt and appropriate provision of preventive services, occupationally-related medical services and post-exposure management with medical follow-up (IB, IC) (5,13,19,22).

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