Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC) has become one of the first hospitals in North Carolina to adopt the Clorox Healthcare Optimum-UV System, adding an extra innovative precaution to its existing infection control processes. Funded through a generous grant from the Catawba Medical Foundation, the systems utilize ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light, the highest-energy form of ultraviolet light, to kill germs that pose a threat to the healthcare environment.
The UV light inactivates the germs' DNA, rendering them harmless and unable to replicate. The system is effective against a range of dangerous germs, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and clostridium difficile (C. diff) spores, in just five minutes. Multi-drug resistant organisms that can cause healthcare-associated infections continue to be a problem among the nation’s healthcare facilities. As these infections continue to threaten patient populations, CVMC made the decision to add an extra innovative precaution to existing infection control protocols: the addition of UV technology to treat patient rooms and other key areas in the facility.
"Patient safety is a top priority at CVMC," said Joelle Calloway, BSN, RN-BC, CIC, CVMC, director of infection prevention. "We chose a UV device as an added measure to help us prevent healthcare-associated infections and ensure the safest possible environment of care for our patients, staff, and visitors. The devices are able to treat areas that are difficult to clean manually, leaving no crevice unturned."
CVMC decision to purchase the two Clorox Healthcare Optimum-UV Systems was based on the devices’ ability to kill key organisms associated with increased hospital-acquired infections, ease of use and cost effectiveness. The device is effective against a range of dangerous pathogens, including MRSA and C. difficile spores, in just five minutes at a distance of eight feet.
CVMC implemented use of the systems to clean all operating rooms and patient isolation rooms between patients and other patient rooms and public areas on a rotating basis in early August. The devices run after the environmental services team thoroughly cleans and disinfects each room with a chemical surface disinfectant product and the UV device is then used to supplement these efforts. In a typical patient room, the device is placed on both sides of the patient bed and turned on for five minutes in each position. It’s also placed in the patient bathroom for another five-minute cycle. A similar process is followed for the ICU.
“Cleaning and disinfection plays a crucial role in infection prevention and with pathogens such as C. difficile able to survive on surfaces for months at a time, we felt it was important to implement even more comprehensive cleaning procedures as part of our daily and discharge cleaning practices,” said Calloway. “We’ve found that the Clorox Healthcare Optimum-UV System provides an effective, high-quality and easy to use solution that has helped achieve reductions to our already low infection rates.”
The adoption of the UV device has not only shown initial reductions in infection rates, but also gives patients and staff peace of mind that their safety is what is most important to CVMC.