April 4, 2014

Harrington Making Hospital Virtually Germ Free With UV Machine

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass. - April 4, 2014 -- Harrington's newest "employee" stands roughly six feet tall, spends time in Harrington's hospital rooms, and, after a 10- or 15-minute visit, leaves the rooms virtually germ free.

Meet "R-D, Rapid Disinfector," a high-tech machine that, at the push of a button, sends ultra violet-C (UVC) light dosages in its immediate vicinity, killing viruses, bacteria and spores. The result: rooms that are safer for patients.

Harrington is one of the few healthcare systems in the region with an ultra-violet disinfector, said Kathleen Davis, Harrington's Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety. "This gives Harrington an extra level of security from the dangers of highly resistant organisms," she said. "It is an important tool in helping keep the hospital safe for patients."

Harrington's Infection Preventionist, Sue Valentine, who suggested that Harrington purchase the device, said the new machine "is very effective in eradicating multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs) that are difficult to treat with antibiotics and can live on surfaces for up to 6 months, such as C-diff spores."

The Rapid Disinfector is used throughout Harrington Hospital, not only in patient rooms but also in the Emergency Room, the Operating Room, the Intensive Care Unit and on equipment that comes in contact with patients.

Harrington Hospital's Auxiliary, which helps fund Harrington programs and purchase equipment, donated $4,500 in seed money to help acquire the $60,000 machine. Valentine appeared before the Auxiliary's Appropriation Committee in the fall of 2013 and secured the initial funding for the disinfector.

"The Harrington Auxiliary has been helping Harrington with its programs and equipment since we formed in 1932, one year after the hospital opened," said Betsy Peppel, President of the Harrington Auxiliary. "After Sue told us about the machine, we were convinced that we needed to help bring this wonderful piece of equipment to the hospital. It's just another way in which the Auxiliary teams with the hospital to help bring Harrington's trademark TLC -- Total Local Care -- to the community."

The Rapid Disinfector, which is mounted on four wheels, is rolled into a room and turned on by a remote device. Sensors placed in the room ensure that sufficient UVC dosages have been delivered to the area. The cycle is monitored remotely for accuracy and effectiveness using browser-enabled devices (phones and tablets). Within minutes after the equipment disinfects an area, the UVC dosage has dissipated and the room is safe, and virtually germ-free, for patients or staff.

Harrington has asked patients staff, and those who Like its Facebook page (www.facebook/harringtonhospital) to help suggest a name for the machine. The new name for R-D will be announced sometime this month.