Design of dental surgeries in relation to instrument decontamination.
ABSTRACT Recent guidelines advise that the decontamination of dental instruments should be undertaken outwith the treatment area. The aim of this study was to determine the physical area of rooms in dental surgeries that decontaminate instruments within and outwith the treatment area respectively, and other factors relating to practice layout and ventilation. Data were collected by interview and observation of dental healthcare workers in dental practice in Scotland, UK. Room layouts were recorded and measured at floor, benchtop and above benchtop heights. Thirteen surgeries with instrument decontamination processes occurring in the treatment area and seven surgeries with instrument decontamination outwith the treatment area were selected at random for detailed analysis of room dimensions. Of the 179 dental surgeries surveyed, 55% were located in converted residential premises and most practitioners (91%) did not share premises with other healthcare providers. The median number of rooms in the practices was 8 (range: 2-21) and the median number of surgeries present was 3 (range: 1-6). Regardless of whether instrument decontamination facilities were housed within the treatment area or not, the average treatment area room size for both was 15.8m(2) (range: 7.3-23.9) (P=0.862), with 20% of the room area available as work surfaces. The median size of the seven instrument decontamination rooms (local decontamination units) was 7.6m(2) (range: 2.9-16.0), with, on average, 63% of the room used for work surfaces. This survey suggests that the historical location of dental surgeries in converted residential properties places many restrictions on appropriate design for healthcare premises.