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Germ-Zapping Robot Expands Route

EVS Tech Serves As New Guide


Children’s Hospital Central California’s new Xenex robot that debugs patient rooms to battle hospital-acquired infections and keep patients safe from harm gets its first personal “manager” and expands its route.
EVS TechnicianEnvironmental Services Technician Brenda Pulido recently began her full-time assignment to guide the robot to disinfect high-risk areas of infection after the patient is discharged. These areas include the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and Starship Craycroft (our inpatient unit for patients with potential immune deficiency conditions), as well as isolation rooms across the other acute care units. The robot also assists in thoroughly cleaning the operating room suites, sterile core, catheterization laboratory and post-anesthesia care unit.

“The program is off to a great start since we launched this new system during the summer,” said Dr. David Christensen, vice president medical affairs and chief medical officer, Children’s Hospital. “Hiring an EVS tech to manage the robot will keep it on track and make the most use of its time.”

“I really enjoy this,” said Pulido who takes pride in her new position. “I get to interact with a lot more people across the Hospital, too."

This year Children’s decreased hospital-acquired infections such as central line-associated blood stream infections, ventilator-associated infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, and surgical site infections by more than 40 percent. While zero errors is our goal, we are working to achieve a further 25 percent reduction in hospital-acquired infections in the coming year. Brenda and the robot are sure to play an important role in achieving that objective in addition to the various measures the Hospital already takes to keep patients safe from harm.

Xenex robotThe Xenex robot uses an incredibly powerful, chemical-free ultraviolet light system that kills bacteria and viruses – such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium (C.diff) – on room surfaces. For the same reason handwashing is important, disinfecting hospital surfaces is essential. Blackout curtains are now used in the PICU patient rooms so the robot’s flashing light will not distract other patients and their families.

It takes up to 15 minutes to clean each room. A card announcing to families that “Your Room Has Been Disinfected With Light!” is displayed prominently in each room after the robot has done its job.

To ensure no one is in the room while the robot is activated, the device is equipped with motion detectors to sense movement and prevent accidental exposure. “Caution – Do Not Enter” signs are also posted as appropriate. The main risk from exposure to UV light is skin and eye irritation. The UV light cannot penetrate doors, glass or plastic.

“After environmental services staff cleans the room, this is one additional step we take to protect our patients,” said Neal Pearson, director, facilities and plant engineering, Children’s Hospital. “We’re looking forward to further expanding the robot’s ability to clean even more rooms.”