UV lights up the New Year as the battle against germs continues at Fitzgibbon

Friday, January 8, 2021

Fitzgibbon Hospital is shedding light – literally – in its constant fight against viruses, germs and disease, with its recent purchase of a UVDI-360 Room Sanitizing light. The purchase was made possible, in part, due to a SafetySMARTS safety grant from Missouri Employers Mutual insurance company. The UV light means faster turnover of patient rooms with increased protections for environmental services staff who are called upon to disinfect rooms before being available for new patients.

“This new device uses 360-degree ultraviolet light to kill 99.9 percent of viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. These include Clostridium difficile (C.diff), which is the most difficult bacteria to fight, as well as COVID-19, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), influenza and more,” said Rudy Reyes, director of facilities for Fitzgibbon Hospital. “The intent is to take this device into any room that is configured for isolation and provide room sterilization after it has been cleaned as an extra layer of protection for patients.”

The new device also allows staff to make rooms available for the next patient much faster, because it eliminates some of the wait time required for environmental services staff to enter and begin their cleaning and disinfection process.

“Right now, when an infected patient is discharged, we wait for one hour before entering the room. This device can be rolled into the room right away and kill all the pathogens in the room within five minutes so that our staff can clean and disinfect a full 55 minutes earlier. Then, before the room is available for the next patient, they will run the cycle again as a final measure,” said Reyes. “This reduction in turnaround time for a room is very important, especially in those times where we are experiencing a surge of patients.”

The ultraviolet light technology utilized by the UVDI-360 has been used in air handler units and water treatment facilities for more than 70 years. It provides disinfection in a 360-degree circle, as well as for the ceiling and floors.

Plans are being developed to utilize the device in other areas of the hospital, on a regular cleaning schedule, when not needed for patient rooms.

“We will be sterilizing the operating room and emergency department on a routine schedule as well as the waiting areas in the hospital. There are really no limits,” said Reyes. “We disinfect areas of the hospital daily, like the cancer center, which includes wiping walls, ceilings, etc. This device will allow us to disinfect these areas in a fraction of the time.”

Environmental services staff are able to monitor progress of the room sanitizing via a mobile application that utilizes Bluetooth technology. Proper disinfection of the room is verified through color-changing cards which are placed through the room. The cards change color as various levels of disinfection are achieved.