Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg, S.C. and many other hospitals around the country are preparing for the possibility of an Ebola case and rehearsing strict procedures for personal protective equipment. In addition, many of these same hospitals are integrating the use of Ebola-killing robot TRU-D SmartUVC into disinfection routines as an enhancement to already stringent safety guidelines.
As part of TRU-D's ongoing commitment to its customers throughout the U.S., the company's expert team recently designed standard operating procedures specific to Ebola to assist infection control providers in integrating the use of the robot into existing disinfection protocols.
"The recent appearance of Ebola in the U.S. has magnified the critical need for thorough disinfection in healthcare facilities," says Chuck Dunn, president of TRU-D SmartUVC LLC. "Hospitals have realized that human error in housekeeping practices is no longer a risk they can take. Utilizing TRU-D in Ebola protocols – as well as using the technology to eliminate other more common hospital-acquired infections – completely changes outcomes."
The standard operating procedures are based on the first-hand experience of healthcare workers in extreme outbreak conditions in Liberia, where TRU-D is currently operating around the clock to disinfect Ebola treatment units, and they were developed alongside colleagues from the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF. These guidelines were created to seamlessly integrate with guidelines from the CDC, establish best practices for the device and provide a proven extra layer of defense in addition to personal protective equipment - allowing facilities to deliver the safest environment for patients, staff and visitors.
"This technology is used at the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg, South Carolina, to disinfect patient rooms and operating suites as a complement to regular cleaning to protect patients from the threat of multi-drug-resistant germs," says Sonya Ehrhardt, DNP, director of infection prevention and control and nursing administration at Regional Medical Center. "TRU-D is environmentally friendly -- using no chemicals while killing germs in the hospital. This high-powered ultraviolet light has moved cleaning rooms and equipment to a higher level. We want our patients to have the safest healthcare we can provide."
In a 2010 study, "Sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation of Lassa vaccinia and Ebola viruses dried on surfaces," authors J.L. Sagripanti and C.D. Lytle cite that the highly virulent Zaire Ebola virus was used to determine the inactivation kinetics produced by exposure to specific doses of UVC from low-pressure mercury vapor (germicidal) lamps. TRU-D is the first and only UV disinfection device on the market to combine these high-efficiency germicidal lamps while scanning a room and automatically delivering a measured UVC dose necessary to eliminate harmful pathogens in 100 percent of the room.
"If we have an Ebola patient, we would use our required decontamination guidelines to clean the room and follow that with our TRU-D units as an additional means to ensure elimination of the Ebola virus. Our community can take comfort in knowing that RMC has been proactive in employing this technology in protecting patients and staff," Ehrhardt says.
TRU-D was the only UV disinfection robot utilized in a $2 million study funded by the CDC, "The Benefits of Enhanced Terminal Room (BETR) Disinfection," by Duke University's (DICON) Epicenter Program, which concluded earlier this year. Reports from the study validate TRU-D as the only device capable of delivering a guaranteed outcome with every cycle.
"It is well-known that pulsed light and other UV systems with the inability to measure a germicidal dose are simply not capable of thorough disinfection of an entire room. Those devices don't erase human error in the disinfection process," Dunn says. "However, TRU-D SmartUVC disinfects the entire room from a single position. The awareness related to Ebola emphasizes the importance of the critical need for thorough disinfection and is the reason so many hospitals will accept nothing less."
TRU-D SmartUVC is the device of choice for nearly all of the existing independent research on UV disinfection technology. Hundreds of TRU-Ds have been deployed to disinfect hospitals across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Africa, including the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland; the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina; and Houston Methodist in Houston, Texas.