Knowledge of sepsis risk and management among dental professionals in Wales: a service evaluation


Aims Sepsis is a significant medical condition. This service evaluation aimed to investigate the current level of knowledge, confidence and educational requirements regarding sepsis among dental professionals in Wales.

Design A convenience-sampled, self-administered electronic questionnaire.

Setting All chairside dental professionals registered with Health Education and Improvement Wales, all Local Dental Committees, district general hospitals, Cardiff University Dental Hospital and Community Dental Services throughout Wales.

Materials and methods A questionnaire was distributed electronically to an estimated 3,716 dental professionals working in Wales in late 2019. Responses were descriptively and statistically analysed.

Results In total, 357 responses were received (9.6%), which achieves a 95% confidence interval (CI) with a 5% margin of error. The majority of respondents reported lack of knowledge or confidence in sepsis recognition and management. Approximately two-fifths of respondents did not access equipment to measure oximetry, temperature or blood pressure. More than three-quarters of respondents had not been trained in sepsis recognition and management. The majority of respondents requested online/distance training (42%), local/national conferences (27%) and local study days (16%) as postgraduate educational format.

Conclusion There is a clear need for postgraduate education for dental teams regarding the identification and management of individuals with potential sepsis in Wales.


Key points

  • Dental professionals report low levels of knowledge and confidence in sepsis recognition and management.

  • Relevant investigations pertinent to sepsis identification are not frequently undertaken in individuals presenting with infection.

  • There is a high requirement and demand for face-to-face and e-learning regarding sepsis.

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The authors would like to thank HEIW, the CDS and HDS CDS, Dental Clinical Leads and Local Dental Committee chairs who acted as gatekeepers to disseminate the questionnaire. They would also like to thank Mrs Maria Morgan for advice in preparing this paper and for the map in Figure 1. The authors are grateful to the UKST for permission to use Figure 6 and the Royal College of Physicians for permission to use Figure 7.

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Correspondence to Stephen Woolley.

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The authors do not have any conflict of interests. No funding was received for this project.

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Woolley, S., Allen, M. & Medeiros Mirra, R. Knowledge of sepsis risk and management among dental professionals in Wales: a service evaluation. Br Dent J (2020).

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