using the autoclave

Writing an IPAC Manual has its challenges. It's not as easy as it seems, as there are many factors to consider before you can call it complete. The following is a list of frequently asked questions, and responses from maxill's own dental educator extraordinaire, Michelle Aube-Simmonds, RDH.   


What are the 2 most common errors made when embarking on the mission of writing an IPAC manual?

  1. Not tailoring the IPAC manual to the individualized aspects of the particular dental office and falling prey to believing gathering regulatory standards and placing them in a binder is an IPAC manual, where in fact all that has been accomplished is the ‘appendix’ of the manual.
  2. Defining the difference between policy and procedure. The policy for a dental office IPAC manual would be tied to legislation and/or a standard of practice and will only need updating if the legislation and/or standard of practice is altered or new legislation and/or standard of practice is introduced. A procedure is listing in EXTREME DETAIL all the steps surrounding the office's IPAC practices.


What portion of the IPAC manual is the most time-consuming to research and write?

Without any doubt the MIFU!!!!  For every item/instrument reprocessed the office needs to have from the manufacturer the time, temperature, and pressure at which it is intended to be sterilized.  No MIFU … no using that instrument until there is a MIFU. 


How often does an IPAC manual need updating?

In essence, an IPAC manual is never completed.  Recently in the pandemic, we have all heard of the term ‘live document’ as so many changes are unfolding quickly.  An update or revision to an IPAC manual may be triggered by changes in the standards of practice as well as regularly scheduled audits. An IPAC manual needs to have scheduled audits and updated based on that audit’s findings.  The pages/sections that are updated must be logged to show ongoing compliance.


Who should write and maintain an IPAC manual?

This falls in the domain of the practice owner working in conjunction with an office manager and appointed IPAC Officer (aka rep).  The role of the IPAC manual is to assess, train, implement, and evaluate ... which includes written policies and procedures. 


Will an IPAC manual be reviewed in the instance of an IPAC audit from public health and/or dental regulatory bodies?

Yes, indeed as how complete and detailed the IPAC manual reflects on the office's IPAC practices.  The good old saying "if it isn’t written it didn't happen" or in this case, "If it isn’t written it isn’t happening". 

The other point to note is an IPAC manual serves the purpose of training new staff and existing staff.  The more detailed the procedures are the more detailed the training will be. 


maxill has several options to help you with this task. Below you'll also find a few links to products that help you make sure you're 100% on track with your IPAC compliance measures. 


Looking for more information on IPAC (Infection Control and Prevention) Resources? Here's a link to our extensive list of PDF checklists and informational articles!