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Increasing Efforts Against Infections

TMH emergency preparedness specialist James Newlun, left, and hospital environmental services coordinator Steve Loging display a second recently purchased mobile room sanitizer used to fight against bacteria and viruses that can cause infections.
Tomah Memorial Hospital has increased the ongoing fight against bacteria and viruses that can cause infections.

Thanks to a financial grant from the Western Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition, Tomah Memorial has purchased a second mobile room sanitizer that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to eradicate bacteria, viruses and mold from hard surfaces and in the air.

TMH emergency preparedness specialist James Newlun said the purchase is the result of available emergency dollars that enable hospitals to be better prepared for disasters or bioterrorism type emergencies.

“First, it provides a secondary device in case one of the two we have should fail, and it also provides a definite advantage for cleaning and minimizing any potential exposure for patients and our staff,” said Newlun, who secured the funding for the second unit.

The hospital received funding two years ago to purchase its first mobile sanitizer.

“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. “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, hospital staff place the unit in a hospital patient room or procedure area and in as little as 10 minutes the area is sanitized. Rooms can be occupied immediately after treatment.

Path added that there have been multiple studies done that prove the effectiveness of UV light in killing bacteria, fungi and spores. She said surfaces were tested before and after using the unit and there was less bacterial growth after use of the light.

Infection rates at Tomah Memorial are very low according to Path and the additional unit should help reduce rates them even further. “It really shows our commitment to patient safety and how technology is expanding,” Path added.