If you’re a Star Trek fan the first thing that comes to mind when you see the new machine for disinfecting patient rooms is that it looks like a futuristic transporter device. And in a way, it is. While the three, tall, glowing emitters can’t transport a person to another planet — they do get the germs out of the patient rooms. And at Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare eliminating the spread of infection is always a priority.
In July, the environmental services and infection prevention departments at FSLH implemented a new disinfection process for patient rooms upon discharge. The teams added the Surfacide three-emitter Helios UV-C disinfection system to the cleaning process already in place for patient rooms. Helios is an evidence-based, automatic disinfection system that wipes out multi-drug resistant organisms, including Clostridium difficile, MRSA, VRE, CRE and Acinetobacter, according to a news release. MDROs are bacteria that are resistant to many antibiotics and if bacteria are “resistant” to an antibiotic it means that certain drug treatments will not work, according to the release.
“Eliminating the spread of infection throughout the hospital is always a priority at FSLH and that’s why state of the art technology like the Helios system is so important,” said Heather Bernard, RN, BS, CIC, director of infection prevention at FSLH. “We were the first hospital in the state to begin using Surfacide technology. It helps us provide a much healthier and higher-quality experience for our patients and their families.
“Patients who have a MDRO are placed on contact precautions which means anyone entering the room must put on personal protective equipment before entering the room and discard the PPE before leaving the room. These steps are taken to ensure the MDROs are not spread to other patients, residents or staff. The Helios system now helps us take these precautions to the next level.”
“Our environmental services teams provide a thorough and complete cleaning of patient rooms and operating suites,” said Jordan Little, director of nutrition and hospitality services for FSLH and Sodexo. “However, we know that highly resistant forms of bacteria can sometimes survive or escape our seven-step disinfection process. Working with infection prevention, we identified the Helios system as an effective way to control the drug resistant organisms and make the rooms much cleaner and safer for future patients.”
While existing ultraviolet technology has demonstrated a degree of effectiveness, there are limitations to having only one emitter in the room, according to the news release. With only one emitter, there is the inability to introduce effective energy levels to all areas of the patient environment which results in treatment “shadows,” according to the release. To overcome this, hospitals have to move the emitter and re-treat spaces that could not be reached, tripling the time required before the room is ready for a new admission, according to the release. The three-emitter system approach, offered through Surfacide, results in the emitters being closer to all surfaces in the room — with the majority of surfaces no more than two meters from one of the emitters, according to the release. A handheld tablet uses laser mapping technology to show the user that all surfaces have been effectively treated with the required amount of energy. The end result is more energy, delivered to every surface, in less time, with visual confirmation at your fingertips, according to the release.
Page 2 of 2 - “Patients on our critical care and intermediate care and observation units require a more intense level of care and can be more susceptible to MDROs than patients requiring less intense care,” said Mary Beth Dowling, RN, BSN, nurse manager for the units. “This new disinfection system is vital for keeping these vulnerable patients safe from acquiring bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. Providing the best and highest level of care for our patients is our first priority, and the Helios system helps us make sure the rooms are as clean as possible for new patients coming on to the unit.”