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Emergency Life Support Training

EmergenciesAll dental practitioners and dental care professionals who might be involved in dealing with a medical emergency are required to undertake regular training in the management of medical emergencies within the dental environment to ensure that they are able to recognise medical emergencies and are competent in their responsibilities for managing a medical emergency (e.g. use of drugs and equipment). Such training is a practice inspection requirement and a highly recommended topic of continuing professional development (CPD).A minimum of 10 hours per CPD cycle, and at least 2 hours every year is recommended by the General Dental Council (GDC).

It is advised that emergency life support training covers the following key topics to ensure that staff are prepared to deal competently with an acute medical emergency when it arises.

  • How to assess the acutely ill patient.
    • Refer to the National Dental Advisory Committee (NDAC) document Emergency Drugs and Equipment in Primary Dental Carefor more information on the ABCDE approach to managing medical emergencies.
  • How to perform adult and paediatric cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • How to use emergency equipment effectively, including bag-valve-mask (BVM) and airway management, use of an automated external defibrillator, and glucose assessment (see Medical Emergency Equipment).
  • How to use emergency medications effectively, including drawing up a syringe and injection (see Medical Emergency Drugs).
  • How to deal with:
    • anaphylaxis;
    • asthma;
    • cardiac emergencies;
    • choking and aspiration;
    • hypoglycaemia;
    • seizures;
    • syncope.
  • Practical demonstration and training in the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

Ensure that staff who might be involved in managing a medical emergency undertake emergency life support training, at least annually. Contact your local NHS Board for details of providers of suitable training.

Keep up-to-date emergency life support training certificates (detailing names of staff who attended and the date of training) and training records for the handling of medical emergencies for all staff.

Ensure that all dental team members know their role and are competent in dealing with a medical emergency in your practice, including the use of drugs and equipment, and practise together in a simulated emergency.

NB: The employer is responsible for the activity undertaken by staff in a medical emergency.

Refer to SDCEP guidance Drug Prescribing For Dentistry and the Prescribing in Dental Practice section of the British National Formulary for advice on how to recognise, assess and manage medical emergencies.

NB: An interactive CPR learning tooland other information related to resuscitation are available on the Resuscitation Council (UK) website. A Medical Emergencies in the Dental Practice poster (PDF)developed by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust summarises the symptoms and management of medical emergencies.

See also General Requirements to Prepare for Medical Emergenciesand Managing Medical Emergencies Policy and Procedure template for further information.