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Fighting Infections

Tomah Memorial Hospital infection preventionist Jan Path, RN, BSN, says the advance technology of the MRSA-UV Helix 450XL™ Mobile Room Sanitizer is helping to step up the fight against bacteria and viruses that can cause infections.

Tomah Memorial Hospital is stepping up the fight against bacteria and viruses that can cause infections. Thanks to a $4,000 bioterrorism grant, the hospital has received a MRSA-UV Helix 450XL™ Mobile Room Sanitizer that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to eradicate bacteria, viruses and molds in the air and on hard surfaces.

“We actually have exceptionally high cleaning standards and a wonderful housekeeping staff that makes sure our rooms are clean,” said hospital infection preventionist Jan Path, RN, BSN, “but the problem is there are things that you cannot see, so a device like this adds another measure of safety and enhances our current cleaning protocols.”

After regular cleaning and disinfecting, Path said the portable unit is placed in the room and in as little as 10 minutes it is sanitized. Rooms can be occupied immediately after treatment.

“There have been multiple studies done that prove the effectiveness of UV light in killing bacteria, fungi and spores. Surfaces were tested before and after using the unit and there was less bacterial growth after use of the light,” explained Path.

Similar to sunlight, UV light can be harmful to people, that’s why Path said rooms are posted with caution signs when the unit is in operation. She also said the unit is equipped with a motion detector that automatically shuts it off in case someone should mistakenly enter a room while being disinfected.

Before the arrival of the new unit, Path said a smaller sanitizer was used which has since been donated to the Tomah Area Ambulance Service.

Path said at the new machine is reserved to rooms where patients have had certain infections to ensure the rooms are highly cleaned.

“It really shows are commitment to patient safety and how technology is expanding,” said Path. “Our infection rates are very low and this light should help reduce them even further.”