IPAC review CE

In the past few months, I have been asked by dental offices what type of training the person performing instrument reprocessing requires.

Regardless of geographical location, every dental office MUST have a policy in effect that specifies the requirements and frequencies of baseline and ongoing IPAC education and training, as well as a competency assessment of the employee in regard to instrument reprocessing and the equipment used for reprocessing.


What does this mean for new hires and existing employees?

First, it means when new hires come on board, having an existing team member, or the team member that is about to leave train the new hire no longer cuts it. Why?


Because it’s not enough. 


Let me pose a question.


Is the office okay with taking chances with client safety, operatory safety and expensive equipment by not having an official system to ensure proper IPAC training?


Obviously, the answer is no, yet the majority of dental offices don't have an official IPAC training policy/system within their IPAC Program. 


Education and training related to IPAC is one of the main elements of an IPAC Program.


As the conversation continues,


What is required for a complete IPAC Training Policy?


Under the direction and organization of an appointed IPAC Officer, at minimum IPAC education and training MUST include the following:


✔ Core Competencies of IPAC Practice (IPAC Standards)

✔ Infection Transmission & Prevention Theory

✔ IPAC Theory: Routine Practice & Additional Precautions)

     ✔ Risk Management

     ✔ Hand Hygiene

     ✔ Sharps Safety

     ✔ PPE

✔ IPAC Stewardship as a Team Concept

✔ Baseline and On-going Assessments

✔ Record Retention of Assessments and Training Logs

✔ Who and How to report an IPAC incident

✔ Instrument Reprocessing

✔ One way Workflow of all Stations

✔ Equipment Use & Maintenance

✔ Environmental Cleaning

✔ IPAC Resources Availability and Access



When does the above education and training need to happen? 

Baseline and at minimum yearly for ongoing training. 

If an office has not started an IPAC Training Program, then all team members fall into baseline training to get started. 

New hires all start at baseline and eventually join the rest of the team for ‘yearly’ maintenance of IPAC knowledge. 


What about in between the ‘next’ training? 

Ongoing audits and assessments are the role of the IPAC Officer to perform ‘regularly’ and triggered by an IPAC ‘need’ (or void) as the IPAC Officer sees fit in their professional IPAC role.


If the IPAC Officer is going to take on such a role, should they not be trained? 


Yes!  Absolutely.


The IPAC Officer must have formal education in dental office reprocessing and core elements. 


There are many great IPAC courses and resources. For example, the Public Health Ontario Core Competencies and Reprocessing modules  along with the Fanshawe College Infection Control & Reprocessing Dental HLTH 3059


Anything else? 

Yes, specific equipment training for the equipment at THAT office. 

Many dental employees know how to operate the reprocessing equipment, but this must be confirmed for existing equipment. 

When new equipment for reprocessing is introduced to the dental practice ALL team members must be trained by the IPAC Officer hosting a proper training session either by the manufacturer directly or the IPAC Officer being trained by the manufacturer and then training the team. 


Where do you start? 

Take the list above of the requirements of an IPAC Training Program and place them in a table.  Proceed to find the education piece for each of these obligations, add the need to log the training, the frequency and the assessment of knowledge from the training.  For example, see the table below:


Training Requirement


Training Log Completed



Competency Assessment (audits/checklist)

Core Competencies of IPAC Practice (IPAC Standards)


PHO Core Competency On-Line Course



Regulatory Body IPAC Standards




Infection Transmission & Prevention Theory


Fanshawe College On-Line Course

HLTH 3059  https://www.fanshawec.ca/programs-and-courses/ce-courses/hlth-3059-infection-control-reprocessing-dental


PHO Resource: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/Health-Topics/Infection-Prevention-Control/Best-Practices-IPAC




IPAC Theory: Routine Practice & Additional Precautions

Fanshawe College On-Line Course

HLTH 3059  https://www.fanshawec.ca/programs-and-courses/ce-courses/hlth-3059-infection-control-reprocessing-dental


PHO Resource: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/Health-Topics/Infection-Prevention-Control/Routine-Practices-Additional-Precautions




IPAC Stewardship as a Team Concept


Baseline and On-going Assessments


Record Retention of Assessments and Training Logs


Who and How to report an IPAC incident


IPAC Resources

IPAC Manual as a written policy and procedure












Appendix of IPAC Manual




Instrument Reprocessing

PHO and Fanshawe On-Line Courses (see above)


PHO Resource: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/Health-Topics/Infection-Prevention-Control/Reprocessing




Equipment Use & Maintenance

User Guidebook

Manufacturer Videos

Direct Manufacturer Training

Indirect Manufacturer Training via Service Technician




Environmental Cleaning

Fanshawe On-Line Course


PHO Resource:






This table breaks down the requirements, the frequency and includes the competency assessment of IPAC practices. 

A simple way to think about it is every requirement needs to have where will the training come from (resource), when it’s going to happen (frequency), if it’s been recorded when it happened (log), and how will it be evaluated if the team understood the training (competency assessments performed by IPAC officer via quizzes, audits, checklist, etc.).


Voila a snapshot of the IPAC Training System within an IPAC Program! 

Establishing structural IPAC policies across dental practices emphasize the importance of change. The outlined comprehensive policy, led by an appointed IPAC Officer, stresses the necessity for formal education and personalized training. Proposing a organized approach through tables to define resources, timelines, and evaluations for each training component becomes pivotal in ensuring strong and efficient maintenance of IPAC standards within any dental setting. 


Michelle Aubé (Simmonds) RDH, maxill Dental Hygiene Educator

Michelle is a Dental Hygiene Speaker, Consultant and Educator with over 21 years of experience as a RDH and 4 years as a CDA. She has written dental hygiene articles for CDHA’s OH Canada professional publication and continues to practice clinically and teaches both clinical dental hygiene and practice management at Fanshawe College and the University of Western Ontario. She has served on the Discipline Committee at Algonquin College and held the position of a CDHO Quality Assurance Assessor for 7 years.