We're adding germ-zapping robots to our team

Our new germ-zapping Xenex™ robots eliminate
hard-to-kill germs in hard-to-clean places.
Sept. 27, 2013
The newest members of the Fairview Southdale Hospital housekeeping team have funny names, but they are all business.

Huey, Dewey and Louie are a trio of Xenex™ disinfecting robots that eliminate hard-to-kill germs in hard-to-clean places.

The three robots use pulsed xenon ultraviolet light that is 25,000 times more powerful than the sun to destroy harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and even bacterial spores. Each robot can disinfect a room in minutes and is easily portable, allowing it to be used in virtually any location within the hospital.

Disinfecting hard-to-reach spots
“We will still do our complete, hands-on cleaning routine,” says Courtney Nelson, CHESP, director of environmental services at the hospital. “But, this additional step will allow us to reach places that are very challenging to disinfect manually, such as the ceiling.”

The system is effective against even the most dangerous pathogens, including Clostridium difficile (C. diff), norovirus, influenza and staph bacteria, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA.

“You wouldn’t wish C. diff on your worst enemy. It gives a person diarrhea 22 times a day,” says Dawn Twenge, RN, infection preventionist. “We have an extremely low rate of C. diff occurring in the hospital because of the precautions we take. Still, it is so devastating, it is worth doing everything we can to stop the spread.”

Process takes 15 minutes
Because the robot uses UV light, it can reach every surface in the room and doesn't leave a chemical residue. After standard cleaning procedures are complete, Environmental Services staff wheel the Xenex robot into the room, position it beside the bed, begin the automated sequence and then leave the room.

A sign is placed outside the room warning people not to enter while the robot is in operation, and a motion sensor on the robot automatically shuts off the machine if anyone should enter.

The process is then repeated on the other side of the bed and in the bathroom, for a total of 15 minutes to thoroughly clean each room.

Media coverage of robot demonstration
The hospital held a demonstration for media. Huey starred in stories that aired on WCCO-TV, KSTP-TV, KARE-TV and KMSP-TV.

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