(NewsUSA) – Most people scheduled for a trip to the hospital expect the facility to be clean, or at least not harboring organisms that can cause life-threatening illness. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 75,000 people in the United States die from hospital-acquired infections each year.
Many hospitals struggle to prevent the spread of two common, but potentially life-threatening bacteria in particular: Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Poor hand hygiene, overuse of antibiotics and inadequate disinfection practices are often contributors to the problem.
Consumer Reports recently published rankings of which U.S. hospitals do best and worst at fighting bacteria that cause infections. Only 6 percent of hospitals scored well against both C. diff and MRSA.
What can hospitals do to destroy these organisms and keep patients safe? Strategies that have shown success include improving hand hygiene, antibiotic stewardship and environmental disinfection.
* Hand hygiene. Proper hand hygiene means handwashing/disinfection by all health care workers before and after caring for each patient. Setting up hand sanitizer stations and reminding hospital staff of hand hygiene protocol has been shown to improve compliance and reduce the spread of infection.
* Antibiotic stewardship. Use broad-spectrum antibiotics only when necessary; excessive use of these drugs can promote the development of resistant organisms.
* Environmental disinfection. Pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV) light can destroy the infectious capability of bacteria and viruses. Innovative hospitals including MD Anderson Cancer Center, Stanford, the University of Washington and Orlando Health are harnessing this technology in the form of germ-zapping robots. Here’s how it works: Full spectrum UV light passes through the cell walls of bacteria, bacterial spores and viruses, where it damages the DNA, RNA and proteins. This renders the organisms inert and incapable of causing infection.
More than 300 hospitals, surgery centers and skilled nursing facilities in the United States and Europe are using Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots for room disinfection, and have seen infection rates drop up to 70 percent. Pulsed xenon UV devices take only minutes to completely disinfect a room and make it safe for the next patient.
You and your loved ones deserve a pathogen-free room during your hospital stay. Is your hospital using Xenex robots for disinfection? Email Xenex at:
[email protected] with the name of a hospital, and the company will let you know. Meanwhile, visit xenex.com for more information about how Xenex robots can make hospitals safer.