Violet is getting the job done in Ridge Meadows Hospital

Robot quickly zapping germs to keep patients safe from germs

Robot is destroying bugs in Ridge Meadows Hospital.

Violet wasn’t the only name considered for the new robot at Ridge Meadows Hospital.

Because of her cylinder shape and domed top, a naming contest came up with a few takeoffs of R2D2 – the rock star of droids.

And because she opens up on top and a long arm projects upward, some hospital staffers had Transformer names.

But they went with Violet, after the UV light that she uses to do her work.

Violet is one of three Xenex “germ-zapping robots” that have been put to work in the Fraser Health region, trying to ensure the rooms are free of superbugs that cause infections.

Cathy Wiebe, director of clinical operations at the hospital, explained that Violet is the latest weapon in the battle against hospital acquired infections.

“The bugs do change, and it gets harder and harder to make sure the room is as clean as it can be before we admit a new patient,” she said.

Hospital acquired infections are “very high on our radar,” Wiebe added.

Ridge Meadows Hospital has had problems with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is caused by staph bacteria. It is a bug that has evolved to survive common antibiotics, and causes problems when it enters the body through a cut or wound.

“We’ve tried everything,” said Wiebe. “We want to get our numbers down.”

So Ridge was one of three hospitals chosen for a trial with the new technology, which uses high-energy, full spectrum, pulses Xenon ultraviolet light to eliminate bacteria and viruses.

It is said to be effective against three of the bugs that most concern hospitals: MRSA, clostridium difficile (C-diff) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE).

“It doesn’t kill. It disrupts the cell to the point where it can’t reproduce.”

Wiebe said the robot doesn’t take the place of the cleaning staff. Rooms are still cleaned the same way as before, and the UV light treatment is an added layer of disinfection.

Staff members wheel the robot into an empty room, and it emits light in a seven foot radius. Nobody can be in the room while the light is on, and the robot is programmed to shut down if someone walks in and trips its motion detector. It zaps bugs for seven minutes at a time, shuts down, then can be safely moved.

It used to take about two and a half hours to pulse a four-bed room, but staff members are gaining efficiency, having been using Violet since her arrival on Nov. 14, and they’ve got that down to about two hours.

Wiebe said there is a detectable difference after the robotic disinfection.

“There’s a nice clean, crisp smell in the room.”

She said patients have also commented that rooms smell cleaner after the treatment.

It is being used in five units of the hospital, including surgery, rehab, two medical units and the patient assessment and transition to home unit.

The robots work will have to pass more than a sniff test.

The other two hospitals doing trials are Abbotsford Regional and Burnaby General. If the microbial load in these three facilities can be lowered by using Violet and her germ-zapping twins, over the course of a six-month trial, more robots will be rolled out into all 12 hospitals in the region. Each robot costs over $100,000 U.S.

Wiebe said Violet has the potential to spare patients from infections, and generally decrease the length of hospital stays.

“We’re hoping the company is right with all of its numbers. That would be exciting.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Free film for Ridge residents to mark Plastic Free July

The Story of Plastic can be viewed for free on any device

Seniors tennis society of Maple Ridge looking for new members

Club accepts anyone over the age of 55 into their ranks

Songs Strings and Steps presents outdoor concert series in Abbotsford

No more than 50 people permitted for each performance

Maple Ridge conservation group frustrated with lack of communication by city

ARMS concerned proposed development along Alouette River will go to fourth reading

Ridge Meadows recreation re-opens

Maple Ridge fitness centre and outdoor pool re-open; Pitt Meadows opens sports fields to groups

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

COVID-19 exposure on Vancouver flight

The Air Canada 8421 flight travelled from Kelowna to Vancouver on July 6

Double homicide investigation leads Vancouver police to Chilliwack

A VPD forensics unit was in Chilliwack Saturday collecting evidence connected to East Van murders

VIDEO: Former Abbotsford resident giving away $1,000

Langley native Alex Johnson creates elaborate treasure hunt to give away cash

Most Read