What to do when patients refuse to wear a mask, per CDA

Some patients may refuse to comply with mask mandates for dental appointments. Dental professionals must be prepared for difficult conversations and using de-escalation tactics to reduce tension, reports the California Dental Association.

Below are six steps to take to avoid mask compliance issues:

1. Train employees on how to handle uncooperative patients. Develop a specific plan on how to respond to patients who refuse to follow safety policies.

2. Document a clear chain of command and designate a specific team member, such as the office manager, to respond quickly in noncompliance situations.

3. Establish a tactical approach to dealing with patient aggression or potential violence, such as exiting to a safe area or calling security.

4. Update workplace violence policies in the employee handbook to cover patient-violence scenarios and how to report them.

5. If possible, address an unmasked patient outside the door or in the doorway to avoid allowing the patient to enter common areas.

6. Offer the unmasked patient a disposable mask provided by the practice, rescheduling the appointment when they are willing to comply or scheduling a telehealth appointment.

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