Super technology gets rooms super clean

Housekeeping and environmental service staff are unsung heroes at any hospital. We depend on these professionals to keep rooms clean and as germ-free as possible. Throughout HCA these employees do a great job, and at MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas,
they just got some serious help.

Meet “Rosie,” the newest member of the cleaning team at MountainView. Made by Xenex, Rosie is a robot-like room-disinfection device that can kill germs up to 20 times more effectively than
standard chemical cleaners. It uses a pulsed-xenon UV light and is able to focus its rays on “high-touch” areas such as bed rails and table surfaces.

Rosie supplements existing efforts

The hospital had been looking around for a way to supplement its cleaning teams, which do a great job but were open to getting some support. Priced comparably to a well-equipped SUV, Rosie didn’t come cheap, but she has already won over the hearts and minds of MountainView staff and patients, says Eileen Kennedy, EVS Director.

“What we were doing before was the standard disinfecting of surfaces during daily cleaning, and then a more complete cleaning after a patient was discharged and the room was empty,” says Kennedy.

“Our housekeeping staff is great, and Rosie allows us to continue our normal cleaning process with a whole new level of disinfection.” When a room has been emptied and cleaned, the Xenex machine is moved in. The device runs for five minutes on each side of the bed, as well as five minutes in the bathroom. Staff cannot remain in the room while the machine is running, so they are able to tackle other duties while it is at work.

“We have prioritized how we use it, starting with the isolation rooms from which a patient has been discharged or transferred,” says Julie Gubb, Infection Preventionist. “Then we use it in the ICU rooms, and then the operating rooms at least once a week. We’re hoping to get a second device soon, because we see this as a real tool in helping us lower infection rates.”

Cleaner environment improves patient safety

While MountainView doesn’t have issues with the disinfection of patient areas, it’s always smart to be proactive in terms of health and
safety, adds Jan Olivas, Director of Risk Management and Patient Safety Officer.

“Hospitals nationwide are seeing an increase in drug-resistant organisms, and those live in a patient environment,” Olivas says. “We do everything we can do to keep those rooms disinfected.” It was important that staff knew that the machine was in no way a reflection on their hard work, but was being added to the cleaning regimen as a way of improving patient safety, notes Kennedy.

“We had meetings with housekeeping, and also spoke with the nursing staff, because it was going to be odd not seeing a human being in an empty room,” she says. “Everything was very positive
and very open. Everyone here understands the importance of safety in our overall clinical excellence goals and knew that this was really thinking outside the box.” One area of particular concern is the high-touch horizontal surfaces, such as the bed rails, and making sure they are as pathogenfree as possible. Testing of surfaces has shown that bacteria that
survive manual cleaning and disinfecting on high-touch areas were eliminated after Rosie’s UV-light treatment. It’s a clean you can smell, says Gubb.

“You can actually smell the difference in the air after Rosie has been used,” she says. “If I could walkinto a hotel room that smelled like that, I would be really happy.”