Moonbeam UV light helps Prairie Ridge Health in Columbus kill infectious bacteria
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Moonbeam UV light helps Prairie Ridge Health in Columbus kill infectious bacteria

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Prairie Ridge Health in Columbus has a new, innovative tool to combat the spread of germs in its healthcare facility.

In August 2019, hospital staff began using the Diversey MoonBeam 3, an ultraviolet light that kills pathogens on highly-touched surfaces, especially operating and patient rooms and bathrooms. Prairie Ridge purchased two Moonbeam units and the small, portable devices have impressed hospital staff in a big way. In the past six months, staff have used it in waiting rooms, patient-care areas, offices, and other spaces. Prairie Ridge believes Moonbeam will reduce the amount of hospital-acquired infections.

“We were looking for that next level of disinfection,” said Marsha Koehn, manager of environment services. “We actually use them, the majority of our time, in the ORs, making sure everything is as clean as possible in there. We don’t want to have anybody getting infections or taking anything with them.”

Koehn said the facility’s disinfection staff runs the Moonbeam every night through eight three-minute cycles. According to a press release, “the system offers three individually-adjustable arms that can be positioned at almost any angle, optimizing disinfection energy to allow dosing of environmental surfaces and non-critical equipment, in just three minutes.”

The device is so lightweight Koehn can push it through hallways on its wheelbase with one finger.

“This was going above and beyond what we normally would do to make sure we’re getting everything, any extra bacteria that may be left behind after our original cleaning,” Koehn said.

After finishing her normal cleaning process with hospital-grade disinfectant, Koehn plugs the Moonbeam in, extends its three arms, and leaves the room. She can turn it on outside the room with a control panel on the device’s lid. Due to the beam’s heavy ultra-violet light, staff are advised to leave the room, letting it do its work. And it’s a good way to avoid a sunburn.

Koehn said there aren’t many surfaces or devices the Moonbeam can’t be used on. With its arms extended, the device’s light can spread 11 feet long and 7 feet wide. Koehn said Moonbeam kills clostridium difficile colitis or C DIFF, and MRSA, a bacterium that causes infectious disease.

“We use them on phone receivers, light switches, wall-washing; it’s actually hitting all the beds,” Koehn said. “Any of the medical equipment that is in the room, everything is getting a shot with the Moonbeam to make sure we’re getting as clean as an environment to the patient as possible.”

Each unit costs about $20,000. Moonbeam is distributed by ImperialDade from Racine. According to Business Development Manager Nick Morrison, the UV disinfection device is more cost-effective than other, larger UV models. Morrison said the UV beam is especially adept in killing spores that carry infectious disease.

“For spores, you need a whole different process to kill it,” Morrison said. “Typically a healthcare facility will have one disinfectant they’re using for everyday use for most of the facility, but that disinfectant is not going to be good enough to kill C DIFF. You have to have an effective plan and the Moonbeam is an effective way to kill C DIFF.”

Based on statistics from the Center for Disease Control, one out of 31 patients leave healthcare facilities with a healthcare-associated infection.

Morrison said hospitals have used UV cleaning technology for several years, but it was mostly reserved for larger facilities that could afford the units. Moonbeam, durable and compact, is ideal for Columbus’ hospital.

Janelle Lauersdorf, Prairie Ridge’s infection prevention specialist, said the Moonbeam is an environmentally-conscious product.

“I love that this method of disinfection does not put additional strain on our environmental services staff,” Lauersdorf said. “It is ergonomically friendly, yet it’s a highly efficient method of disinfection.”

Lauersdorf said Moonbeam shoots a targeted, high-efficient dose of ultra-violet light, destroying bacteria in both small and large areas in minutes. Koehn said staff runs 300 cycles or about 900 minutes of the Moonbeam on a monthly basis. In addition, Morrison said the device should be effective for many years with only the bulbs needing replacement.

“We’re doing as much as we can to fight the germs and keep people healthy,” Koehn said. “It’s just been endless, for what we can use it for.”

Follow Kevin Damask on Twitter @kdamask or contact him at 608-963-7323.

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