Trinity Hospital has increased the use of their Xenex robots to help disinfect rooms in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the Xenex Disinfection System is used to disinfect hospital rooms of patients with multi-drug resistant organism or the flu, it is also used in hospital rooms of patients “that have been tested for or were a known COVID-19 positive patient,” explained Sue Niebuhr, RN, Coordinator of Trinity Health’s Infection Prevention and Control department.
“When a person is admitted, if COVID-19 is suspected and testing has been ordered, the patient is placed in modified droplet precautions,” Niebuhr said. Modified droplet precautions are steps taken to protect patients and those who interact with them; this is done by wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which includes a gown, gloves, mask, and eye protection, and performing hand hygiene, as well as several other protective measures. “It can take at least 48 hours to get those test results back. We used modified droplet precautions with every patient until the results are in.”
If the patient’s test result is positive, they will stay in modified droplet precautions; if they are negative, they are taken out of those precautions and standard precautions are followed. Once these rooms are vacant, they are cleaned and the robots are used to disinfect surfaces using ultraviolet light – hundreds of times more intense than sunlight – to destroy bacteria and other pathogens in a matter of minutes.
More recently, the robots have seen an increase in usage in the emergency department, as a number of COVID-19 tests have been performed there, Niebuhr said.