Spotlight Blog

Automatic Disinfection in Healthcare Facilities

Oct 22, 2020 | Products

by TLA Staff

Just joining us?  Read the first two installments of this series – “The ABCs of UV Light” here, and “Disinfection in Schools and Universities” here. 

Welcome to the third installment of The Lighting Agency’s four-part series on UV Light. Fall is here and with cooler weather and shorter days on the way, people will be spending less time outdoors and more time inside. With the threat of a possible “twin-demic” hitting the Northern Hemisphere as flu season and COVID-19 surges threaten to collide, it is more important than ever for healthcare providers to create a safe and germ-free environment for patients and front line workers alike. In this post, we will explore the benefits of incorporating PURO™ Lighting, powered by Violet Defense™ UV lighting technology into your disinfection processes.

We like to believe that health care facilities are sanctuaries from illness—places we can take refuge at and recover in when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable.  However, according to data from the CDC, 4% of hospitalized patients—approximately 648,000 individuals—were afflicted by a health care associated infection (HAI). 

The dominant infections (in descending order) included Pneumonia (21.8%), surgical site infections (21.8%), gastrointestinal infections (17.1%), urinary tract infections or UTIs (12.9%), and primary bloodstream infection (9.9%, and include Catheter-associated bloodstream infections).  The leading pathogens behind these HAI were C. difficile (12.9%), Staphylococcus aureus (10.7%), Klebsiella (9.9%), and Escherichia coli (9.3%). Perhaps more concerning are the increasing prevalence of HAI cases involving antibiotic-resistant “super bugs,” such as Methicillin resistant strains of staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE).

If the prospect of becoming infected while at a health care facility seems shocking—it shouldn’t be that surprising because health care workers routinely treat patients for infectious diseases. The problems arise when microscopic pathogens are unwittingly spread throughout the healthcare environment by patients and workers interacting with one another. Indeed, outbreaks of disease have been traced back to varying sources, including blood pressure cuffs, computer keyboards, thermometers and even the sink of a patient in a single room. Healthcare workers can come into contact with these contaminated surfaces, which increases the risks of transmitting bacteria or viruses to others. MRSA has been documented to persist on surfaces anywhere from 7 days to 12 months. That timeframe can be as high as 46 months for VRE! You can read more on this topic here on the Virology Journal.

sources of transmission

pathogens can persist on surfaces

In 2020 of course, the pathogen at the forefront of concern for both the public at large and health care providers the world over is the SAR-COV-2 human coronavirus responsible for the disease known as COVID-19. It is believed that COVID-19 is transmitted through both direct contact and airborne routes.  Recent studies suggest that SARS-CoV-2 is viable in aerosols for at least 3 hours, and can persist on surfaces for as long as 28 days!

Healthcare workers and contact

In light of these findings, and the health risks that COVID-19 and other pathogens present to hospitalized patients, it is of vital importance that healthcare providers consider incorporating Ultraviolet light based solutions such as the PURO™ Lighting, powered by Violet Defense™ UV lighting technology into their facility disinfection processes. Ultraviolet light has been researched for over a hundred years for its ability to effectively kill pathogens in the air and on surfaces. According to a recent study published by the National Institute of Health, UV light may potentially prove a safe tool for reducing the ambient level of airborne coronaviruses in occupied public locations.

UV light attacks the DNA and/or RNA of pathogens. As a result, microbes cannot develop resistance to UV light as they have to antibiotics and certain chemical disinfectants. A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study found that the addition of a pulsed Xenon ultraviolet disinfection device was “superior to cleaning alone for decreasing microbes on environmental surfaces, as well as decreasing infection rates, and the rates of hospitalization for infection.” Another study conducted by the Duke University School of Medicine and the UNC School of Medicine researched the effect of several enhanced disinfection methods including the addition of UV to quaternary ammonium compound disinfectants (Quat) and UV to bleach.  When deployed using automated machine driven processes, UV light enhanced disinfection systems can reduce the potential for contagion inherent to all human-based interactions, as well as the mitigate the risks of inadvertently fostering the growth of chemical resistant pathogens.

Ultraviolet Light

Healthcare workers

Truly automatic, UV disinfection

Puro, Helo F2

Areas to target for enhanced disinfection

Disinfection from Above

In short, while automated disinfection systems still cannot fully replace daily-cleaning routines, UV-enhanced disinfection systems have been proven more effective than chemicals alone to reduce surface contamination and ultimately decrease unnecessary infections. You can read more on the National Institute of Health website here.

TLA is here to help answer your location-specific questions and navigate the process of identifying, installing and implementing the best UV Light System for your needs using PURO™ Lighting, powered by Violet Defense™. Contact your TLA sales representative or our inside lighting sales team at ils@thelightingagency.com for more information on any of the products above.

And be sure to join us for the final post in this series next week as we discuss “The Value of Green Cleaning.”

Additional Resources…

We’d like to invite you to explore our newly re-designed website, which we hope will become a go-to resource for all your professional lighting needs.

TLA has added an EVENTS page where you can access and register for scheduled and on-going virtual presentations, seminars and trainings for a full spectrum of lighting topics ranging from controls, to design, to products.

Checkout our new Quick Quote Tool to help designers stay on budget.

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Thank you so much for joining us today on the blog!

 

The Lighting Agency is a local construction allied company representing the premier lighting and controls manufactures for Colorado and Southern Wyoming. We strive to be an integral part of the design process through our work with lighting specifiers, contractors, supplier and owner to create brilliant yet budget-sensitive results for projects big and small.

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