Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Healthcare Professionals and Oral Care Operational Services: A Systemic Review

Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2021 Feb 4;14:453-463. doi: 10.2147/RMHP.S284557. eCollection 2021.

Abstract

The unprecedented climate of the COVID-19 pandemic has some restrictions on oral care operational services, which heavily impacted the delivery of aerosol generating procedures (AGPs). This led the health authorities to set up guidelines and policies that should be followed to minimize the virus spread and ensure safe and effective dental care delivery. This systemic review aimed to evaluate the current guidelines and strategies in providing safe dental services and ensuring efficacy of the current universal personal preventive and protective measures, as well the impact that this outbreak might have on practicing the dental profession in full scope. The review focus questions were as follows: are the current guidelines and measures in literature mitigated enough to ensure safe and effective oral care delivery to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic? Is it possible to highlight the essential and fundamental cross-infection control measures and policies? Twenty articles were chosen out of 180,248 after the inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied in the period between January 1st and August 1st 2020. Our results highlighted effective safety measures that can be implanted in protecting healthcare professionals and patients and ensuring optimal dental care delivery in a safe and healthy environment, taking into consideration the risk assessment and management of AGPs. In conclusion, informative updated standardized policies and protocols are required when more knowledge on the virus behavior keeps evolving. Moreover, there is a need for evidence-based protective measures to be modified on a regular basis to be followed, until a safe vaccine is produced.

Keywords: COVID-19; aerosol generating procedures; airborne; cross-infection control; dental care emergency guidelines; diagnostic tests; disinfectants; healthcare personnel protection; public health; risk assessment.

Publication types

  • Review