Director's Message: Assisted hygiene or assisted suicide?

I had to laugh when a colleague began talking about the differences between assisted hygiene and “assisted suicide.” Could it really be that bad?

I had to laugh when a colleague began talking about the differences between assisted hygiene and “assisted suicide.” Could it really be that bad?

Based on emails and comments from an online community that was bashing the “assisted hygiene” model, I guess it could!

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However, if structured appropriately, assisted hygiene can increase efficiency, profitability, and production. It can also increase the relationship equity with patients, enrollment conversations, and patients’ engagement in their care.

The following are seven must do’s when incorporating assisted hygiene. Actually, they are must-do’s for any hygiene department — single or double booked.

  1. Consider your own understanding, fears, and resistance to assisted hygiene. If you feel like you are being singled out for assisted hygiene, acknowledge it, accept it, and begin to do your research.
  2. Develop a plan, commit to the plan, and work the plan.
  3. Lead the change for your entire team. It takes an entire team to transition from a single-booked hygiene schedule to an assisted hygiene schedule, often called “team hygiene.”
  4. Take a realistic look at your current hygiene situation or numbers. Is there a “trend or number” that needs to be addressed before the transition? We know that all statistics are situation flags leading to operational systems.
  5. Develop or revisit your hygiene vision and philosophy statement.
  6. Verbal skills and communication — skill up!
  7. Daily hygiene production goals and ideal hygiene scheduling.

And it goes without saying if the assisted hygiene model is something you want to incorporate, take it slow, know it can be implemented, and, if you need support, hire a reputable dental hygiene consultant.

Kristine H. Hodsdon RDH, MSEC
Director, RDH eVillage

Kristine A. Hodsdon, RDH, MSEC, is an international speaker and executive coach who consults and teaches Dental Wealth Clarity, a virtual training on proven success solutions to master your money, marketing, and mindset. Her company, kristineahodsdon.com,provides customized coaching and trainings, and she is also a consultant and trainer with Pride Institute. She can be reached at kristinehrdh@pennwell.com.

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