Germ-Zapping Robots Enhance Patient Safety - Ascension Wisconsin

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Published on April 23, 2014

Germ-Zapping Robots Enhance Patient Safety

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Sets New Standard for Patient Safety 

As hospitals across the nation look for new and innovative ways to battle deadly pathogens and kill multi-drug resistant organisms that put patients at risk, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare has taken a leap into the future with the installation of two germ-zapping robots that eliminate hard-to-kill bugs in hard-to-clean places. 

The two Xenex robots use pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV-C) light that is 25,000 times more powerful than sunlight to destroy harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even bacterial spores. The system is effective against the most dangerous pathogens, including Clostridium difficile (C. diff), norovirus, influenza, and staph bacteria, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA. 

The Xenex system can disinfect a room in minutes and is easily portable, allowing it to be used in virtually any location within the hospital. Wheaton Franciscan – Elmbrook Memorial and St. Joseph Campuses are the first hospitals in Milwaukee to implement the Xenex system, which has been credited for helping other health care facilities in the U.S. decrease their MRSA and C.diff infection rates. Both Wheaton robots are used numerous times daily in operating rooms, intensive care patient rooms and in intervention radiology and C-section suites -- disinfecting more than 200 rooms a month. 

Because the Xenex robot uses UV light, it is able to reach every surface in the room, and it does not leave a chemical residue. Each treatment takes about 5 minutes. To disinfect a room after standard cleaning procedures are complete, hospital team members 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. 

Affectionately named Mr.Clean and Cicero, Wheaton’s robots pulse UVC light that eliminates the microorganisms that can cause hospital acquired infections. The light fractures the walls of those microorganisms and kills bacteria, viruses and spores without any contact or chemicals. “It’s the fastest and most powerful technology available,” says Amy Lentes, Director - Environmental Services, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare. “Hospital acquired infections like C. diff kill 20,000 people a year in the United States. Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare is committed to doing our part to reduce that number.” 

About Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare is a Catholic, not-for-profit organization with more than 100 health and shelter organizations in Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, and Illinois.  Started by the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters more than 130 years ago and formally incorporated in 1983, the System has corporate services offices in Wheaton, Illinois and Glendale, Wisconsin.  

In Southeast Wisconsin, Wheaton is co-sponsored by the Wheaton Franciscan and Felician Sisters and has more than 10,600 associates, making it one of the largest private employers in the area.  Hospitals include All Saints in Racine County; Wheaton Franciscan - St. Joseph and Midwest Spine and Orthopedic Hospital and Wisconsin Heart Hospital Campuses, St. Francis, Franklin Hospital, and Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Milwaukee County; and Wheaton Franciscan - Elmbrook Memorial Campus in Waukesha County.  The region also includes Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group with more than 300 physicians in more than 50 locations, a network of outpatient centers, three transitional and extended care facilities, Home Health, and Hospice. 

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare is also affiliated with United Hospital System in Kenosha.  

About Xenex Healthcare Services

Xenex's patented pulse xenon UV room disinfection system is a pesticidal device used for the advanced environmental cleaning of healthcare facilities. The Xenex system has been repeatedly shown to integrate smoothly into hospital cleaning operations because of its speed and ease of use. The Xenex mission is to eliminate bacteria, viruses and spores in the patient environment that can cause hospital acquired infections and to become the new standard method for disinfection in healthcare facilities worldwide. For more information, visit