This article is part of the UV Light Product Showcase that was featured in the July 2009 issue of ICT.
Historically, infection control protocol regarding centralized bathing in nursing homes has focused exclusively on the disinfection process between baths. Overlooked, however, is the very real risk of self-infection during the bath and how typical bathing systems can contribute to the spread of infections.
A study conducted by the Medical College of Pennsylvania discovered that bacteria levels increase up to 500,000 times during a bath, even when the tub had been cleaned and disinfected prior to that bath. This dramatic increase is due primarily to bacteria washing off residents’ bodies and dispersing into the water. To compound this, nursing home residents are often immuno-compromised, have open areas, and may be prone to bouts of incontinence. Combined, these conditions can greatly increase infection rates among nursing home residents via the bathing process.
Apollo Corporation, a leading manufacturer of bathing systems for the long-term care and assisted living markets, has developed the Remedy® ultraviolet water purification system that kills harmful pathogens, including staph, strep, Legionella, and even drug-resistant bacteria such as C. diff and MRSA by exposing their DNA to germicidal UV-C radiation.
As the whirlpool motor circulates bath water through the system, waterborne bacteria pass by two ultraviolet lights housed inside a protective chamber. The ultraviolet light kills the DNA in these organisms so they cannot colonize, reproduce and cause infections. In fact, the Remedy is so effective that, during a typical 10-minute bath, it can kill up to 99.9 percent of the bacteria released into the water.
Research indicates that by reducing exposure to harmful microorganisms during the bath, chances of infections correspondingly decrease. One lengthy study reported residents bathing in Remedy®-equipped systems incurred 50 percent fewer urinary tract infections and 35 percent fewer respiratory infections than those bathed in other systems.
Reduced infections can positively affect a nursing home’s bottom line. Healthcare professionals have estimated that it requires an average of 25 staff hours to treat just one urinary tract infection. In just one year, the Remedy® can save hundreds of staff hours and literally pay for itself in saved time and decreased liability risk.