Half a million square feet. More than 350 beds. And tomorrow, they clean it all over again. Every day, Environmental Services staff members work to disinfect every surface in Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, playing a crucial behind-the-scenes role in preventing infections and keeping patients safe. Now, on top of scrubbing, spraying, mopping and wiping, they can add another action – zapping.
“Cleaning is a fundamental function of any healthcare facility, and our housekeepers may go unnoticed because their work disinfecting the hospital often happens before patients even get to their rooms,” says Jill Hoffman, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and medical director of infection prevention and control at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “We arm our doctors and nurses with high-tech tools and surgical robots, and now we are doing the same for those on the front line of our battle against infections.”
As hospitals across the country look for new, innovative ways to battle pathogens and multi-drug resistant organisms that put patients at risk, and as flu season draws closer, CHLA has introduced four new non-human team members that can annihilate potentially lethal germs and bacteria lurking in hard-to-reach places.
CHLA’s four new Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots – affectionately named Charlie, Ziggy, Phoenix and R2Clean2 – use pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV-C) light, thousands of times more powerful than sunlight, to quickly destroy harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and even bacterial spores. The portable disinfection system takes about 20 minutes per room – for a total of about an hour when combined with traditional cleaning techniques – and is effective against even the most dangerous pathogens, including Clostridium difficile (C-diff), norovirus, influenza and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Supplementing the work of more than 200 top-notch EVS/housekeeping staff, this new technology gives CHLA another tool to provide hospitalized infants, children and young adults the safest experience possible.
“Adding another layer of protection to our already robust infection prevention protocols allows us to be even more proactive in protecting our patients,” says Hoffman. “Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is nationally and internationally recognized for patient care, and even one hospital-acquired infection is one too many. These robots can help us advance towards our goal of zero infections.”
In fact, during a brief trial run with a Xenex robot earlier this year, CHLA was able to see a 10 percent reduction in infection rates in areas of the hospital tested. Other hospitals that have used the robots for longer periods have reported even more dramatic reductions – more than 50 percent in some cases – in C. diff and MRSA rates.
And speak with a information specialist for assistance regarding C. diff. infection prevention, treatments, and environmental safety products available.
* Disclaimer: Please do not cease in seeking medical treatment and medical care if any C. diff. symptoms are noticed or continue. Please see your Primary Care Physician or go to the nearest Clinic/ER for medical treatment. The C Diff Foundation does not provide assessments or diagnosis and is not liable for decisions made solely based from the information provided here or through the hotline or archived on the website. The foundation does not provide ancillary assistance with travel, or lodging. Information shared is for educational use only and to raise C. diff. awareness in prevention, treatments, and environmental safety worldwide. Thank you
While combating C. diff at home, it is recommended that soiled linens be handled as little as possible to prevent microbial contamination of persons handling the linen. Heavily soiled linens should be laundered separately and not with other clothing or other linens. Satisfactory Laundering has been achieved in “hot” water temperatures cycles in home washers while utilizing chlorine bleach (amount varies with manufacturer and water capacity in each washer) and laundry soap.
Hand-washing with soap and warm water over 20 seconds, scrubbing between fingers, and tops of hands, rinsing with fingers pointed downward, using a dry, clean towel to dry both hands and a dry towel to turn off the sink faucets. This hand-washing process demonstrates the greatest efficiency in removing Clostridium difficile (C Diff) spores and should be performed preferentially over the use of alcohol-based hand rubs when contact with C Diff is suspected or likely. The recommended length of time to wash hands is a minimum of 20 to 30 seconds. Singing one rendition of Happy Birthday usually suffices the time suggested to achieve good hand-washing results.
* 70% isopropyl showed NO inactivation of C. difficile spores at exposure times of 5m, 15m, and 30m.
Cleaning a Home Environment:
What needs to be cleaned at home using EPA approved germicide for routine cleaning? All hard surfaces, which include the bedside commode (if applicable), bed-rails (if applicable), All Bathroom sinks, floors, tub/showers, toilets, doorknobs, light switch plates, shower doors. Frequently touched or high-touch surfaces including computer touch-pads, monitor cables, monitors, Kitchen appliances (i.e., Refrigerator handles, oven handles) sinks, counter-tops, floors and any/all medical equipment being utilized (i.e., walker, wheelchair, IV poles/pumps).
Clean all items that are shared between individuals (i.e., glucose meters, thermometers, b/p cuffs, stethoscopes). *It is best to use disposal wipes, paper towels, or cleaning clothes that can be washed in hot bleach water after cleaning, sponges are not recommended. The dirty cloth should not return to a clean bucket of solution and buckets/containers should be washed and disinfected after each use.
Home Restrooms: To also help prevent spreading C. diff. spores and to prevent reinfection: Restrooms – remove fabric shower curtains – replace with a plain plastic/vinyl shower liner one that will be able to be cleaned with a bleach product. Remove towels hanging on hooks, or stacked near the commode. Store toothbrushes, personal grooming items, and towels in a cabinet, linen closet, in zip-lock plastic bags, or under the vanity sink is a safer location. Remove bath mat/rug or launder daily in hot water with bleach added (color fabrics may fade due to bleach – read manufacturer labels). Cleaning with disposable towels is beneficial. CDC Recommendation is Utilizing Bleach/Water 1:10 ratio: 1 cup of Bleach + 9 cups of water made fresh daily and keeping surfaces wet with solution for ten minutes. Or there is the option to purchase EPA Registered product such as Clorox (TM) Germicidal Solution or wipes to clean hard non-porous surfaces and leaving surfaces wet for up to five minutes to kill C. diff. spores. Environmental safety is a sure way to prevent spreading the C. diff. spores and/or reinfecting the patient
While visiting a loved one in the hospital, wearing a gown and gloves is very important. Clostridium difficile (C diff) spores will spread throughout areas easily and by complying with hospital policies you will keep your family member, friend, yourself, and others safe. Please wash your hands after removing gloves before leaving the room you are visiting, and please wash your hands upon re-entering before new gloves and gown are worn.
ALL “TOUCHABLE (HAND CONTACT)” SURFACES SHOULD BE WIPED
with cleaning agent containing Chlorine Bleach. The CDC cleaning ratio 1:10 solution; 1 cup bleach to 9 cups of water and used on non-porous surfaces over ten minutes and mixed fresh daily for effective cleaning solution OR with a EPA Registered Sporicide/Disinfectant (i.e., Steriplex SD, Clorox Germicidal).
Question: Do Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes contain bleach? NO
Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes, purchased at local markets, are made with a bleach-free formula that’s available in Fresh Scent, Lemon Fresh, Kitchen and Lavender scents so they leave a light, clean scent every time you wipe off a surface. * The “Disinfecting” wipes by Clorox will NOT kill C Diff Spores *
The Clorox Germicidal Wipes and Solution DO have the EPA Registered C Diff Kill.
Clorox Solution has been located and sold through Lowe’s Home Improvement Centers. Check with local stores for this product.
What do I need to do when I go home from the hospital?
Once you are back at home, you can return to your normal daily routine.
Often, the diarrhea will be better or completely gone before returning to home. This makes giving
C. diff to other people much less likely. There are a few things you should do, however, to lower the
chances of developing C. diff infection again or of spreading it to others.
• If you are given a prescription to treat C. diff, take the medicine
exactly as prescribed by your doctor and pharmacist. Do not take half-doses or stop before you run out.
• Hand-washing remains #1 prevention: Take frequent 20 second hand-washing breaks during the day, especially after visiting the bathroom, before and after preparing food, after visiting stores, after visiting the gym, before and after eating, after traveling on public transportation, and often.
Cleaning with a chlorine bleach cleanser will help kill C Diff spores in the home environment.
* If any C. diff symptoms (diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramping) are noticed, please contact the primary physician, healthcare professional and/or seek medical attention at the local clinic/emergency department for assessment and C. difficile stool testing.