Introduction - Orientation on the Infection Prevention guideline in oral care practices
In the Netherlands, all patients are entitled to safe care under the Medical Treatment Contracts Act (WGBO), which is included in the Dutch Civil Code, in Article 7: 446-468. A quote from this law reads:
In his work, the care provider must take care of a good care provider and, in doing so, act in accordance with his or her responsibility, arising from the professional standard applicable to care providers.
This law protects the patient against incompetent and careless action by healthcare providers, among other things due to a duty of registration for various professionals in primary care. In addition, all healthcare providers are personally held responsible by this Act for providing patient-oriented, high quality and safe care. The national government has a supporting and controlling role in this. All professional groups in primary care, including, of course, the professional groups active within oral healthcare, have developed protocols and professional standards to ensure patient safety. Patients are entitled to expect that all health care staff adhere to this.
Various hygiene protocols have been put together for oral care since the first guideline in the field of infection prevention for dentistry came into effect in 1995. The oral care team must at all times, on the basis of the applicable guideline, take the necessary measures to ensure that current transmission of micro-organisms is avoided or restricted as much as possible during treatment.
In the fight against transmission of micro-organisms, no distinction can be made between 'good' or bad 'micro-organisms'. If the transfer of a relatively innocent cold virus would be allowed, then the less pleasant epstein-barrvirus (cause of Pfeiffer's disease) will most likely also be able to reach the next patient via the same transport route. Infection prevention is therefore, in principle, applied at the highest possible (achievable) level for each patient and for every type of treatment. Obviously, contamination prevention is first and foremost the best way to prevent the development of inflammation or infectious diseases. If transfer is unavoidable (for example by inhaling the contaminated air suspended in the treatment room), the number of living or viable micro-organisms must be limited as much as possible, so that after an (unavoidable) infection an inflammation or illness does not can arise with the host.