IFDH 2020 COVID Survey
The IFDH recently fielded a survey to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the dental hygiene profession and identify opportunities to support global dental hygienists, dental therapists and oral health therapists through these difficult times. This was the second in a series of 3 surveys supported by Procter & Gamble (Crest/Oral-B). Highlights from the summary are listed below.
Profile of Respondents
The survey was sent to 34 national associations to field to their members between May 5 and May 31, 2020. 9866 respondents completed the survey, representing 30 countries. The countries with the largest representation included the United States (83%), Canada (3%), the United Kingdom (3%), Italy (2%) and Korea (2%). There was good representation across years in practice. 82% of the respondents have an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree, and 71% work in a general private practice setting.
Current Level of Treatment
52% of respondents are not working at all, 20% are providing restricted in-office treatment (non-aerosol producing), and 15% are providing normal in-office treatment.
14% are receiving no compensation, while 86% are receiving compensation from the government and/or their employer.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Other Protective Measures
Responses regarding PPE suggest there is a PPE shortage. Gloves (86%), face shields (76%) and surgical masks (69%) are the most commonly reported PPE. About half of respondents said they are wearing an N95 respirator, goggles, full gown and/or hair net.
Practices are taking other protective measures, such as cleaning/disinfecting all surfaces in the operatory after treatment (85%) and screening patients for symptoms when they arrive (81%) and by phone when they make their appointment (71%). Pre-procedural rinses are being used by 57% of respondents for all procedures, with hydrogen peroxide rinse being the most common.
Impact on Standard of Care
92% of respondents indicate they will have to wear more PPE going forward and 84% believe they will need more time for cleaning/disinfecting after treatment. 60% of respondents believe they will see fewer patients per day, and close to half think they will have less time to teach patients about prevention/oral hygiene.
There are concerns about PPE shortages (83%) and that patients may delay dental care due to fear of the coronavirus (74%). Approximately 1/3 of respondents believe practice will return to “normal” again once this threat has passed.
Education during Quarantine
61% of respondents increased their use of online CE during quarantine, and 65% of those taking online CE will be more likely to take online CE in the future.
Personal experience with COVID-19
90% of respondents have not had COVID-19 symptoms nor been diagnosed with it. 9% had symptoms, but were not tested. Less than 2% were diagnosed with COVID-19; about half of those diagnosed had symptoms.
We would like to thank the respondents for making the time to complete the survey. The information has been very insightful and will help us best support you during this pandemic. Please look out for the final survey in late 2020 and help us help the dental hygiene community.