(MINOT, ND) – Charge of the Light Brigade is a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, but it also serves as an apt metaphor for the latest innovation Trinity Health has deployed in its efforts to keep health-associated infections at a very low rate.
Trinity recently became the first hospital in western North Dakota to add a germ-zapping robot to its infection control arsenal. The Xenex Disinfection System sanitizes surfaces using ultraviolet light hundreds of times more intense than sunlight.
Dr. Jeffrey Verhey chairs the Trinity Health Foundation Board, which funded the project. He says the new disinfection system is an important part of Trinity’s ongoing commitment to patient safety.
‘Trinity Health Foundation is pleased to assist Trinity Health in its efforts to be proactive in preventing healthcare associated infections,’ Dr. Verhey said. ‘Trinity has very low infection rates due to the diligence of its staff. Technology such as this will enhance the robust efforts in place that keep our patients safe.’
Sue Niebuhr, coordinator of Trinity’s Infection Prevention and Control program, says Trinity’s Environmental Services and Infection Prevention Team proposed the purchase as part of its ongoing efforts to neutralize bacteria, viruses and spores to the fullest extent possible.
‘We liked the Xenex system because it incorporates a germicidal UV-C light robot to disinfect surfaces,’ Niebuhr said. ‘Our plan is to use the robot in critical care areas of the hospital to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infection among the most vulnerable; so we see it as an additional precaution.’
According to Niebuhr, Trinity’s Housekeeping staff shouldn’t have problems incorporating the robot into its practices. After standard cleaning procedures have taken place, a staff member simply wheels the robot into a room, begins the automated sequence, and then leaves the room to allow the robot to destroy bacteria and other pathogens in a matter of minutes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged the nation’s hospitals to up their game in the fight against Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms and C. Difficilea, a bacterium that can cause various symptoms, some life-threatening. Niebuhr says Trinity Health already follows CDC best practices for curbing infections, but the hospital is proud to add this extra layer of protection.
‘For the same reason that hand-washing is important, disinfecting hospital surfaces is important to keep patients safe and healthy,’ she added.