Fraser Health’s 16 Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) robots now have UVGI ‘helpers’.

Two new UVGI disinfection pods have joined the team. The pods and robots are deployed at hospitals across the Fraser Health region to kill viruses and bacteria that linger on surfaces and can potentially cause infection.

The pods reflect and trap UV rays and are easily moveable and collapsible so disinfection can occur in small areas without the need to close entire rooms. Mobile pieces of equipment such as wheelchairs, incubators and IV poles are placed in the tent-like pods so the robots can do their work.

Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) robot

The stars of the disinfection process remain Fraser Health’s Xenex LightStrike Germ-Zapping robots, purchased in 2020 and funded through local hospital foundations. The entire UVGI fleet has logged thousands of hours and disinfected nearly 62,000 rooms in the past 21 months.

The UVGI robots emit short pulses of UV light, damaging the DNA and RNA of harmful pathogens, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile), carbapenemase-producing organisms (CPO), Candida auris (C. auris) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The robots light up as they disinfect, removing viruses and bacteria from a patient room in as little as 20 minutes.

Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) robot bulb

The robots keep an internal time-sheet of where and when they work, and the data is sent to a server so Fraser Health can monitor usage. If they need some “downtime,” a backup robot is brought in.

Each robot is controlled by an environmental services (EVS) operator, working with Fraser Health Infection Prevention and Control, housekeeping staff and health care aides using traditional and chemical cleaning methods. Housekeeping workers are returning to the public system as Fraser Health employees as part of the repatriation of workers under Bill 47.

Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) robot

“Embracing new solutions is pivotal to providing our patients with the best care possible,” says Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO, Fraser Health. “UVGI disinfection and our new disinfection pods are part of a multi-pronged approach to reduce hospital-acquired infections.”

“We must remain vigilant to keep all viruses and bacteria out of our acute and community facilities,” says Ruth Dueckman, executive director, Infection Prevention and Control, Fraser Health. “UVGI robots and pods are one of the innovative tools to help keep our patients and staff safe. We have seen a reduction in some hospital-acquired infections such as C. difficile and MRSA since we first introduced UVGI disinfection into our region in 2016.”

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