In May 2020, Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation announced an ambitious fundraiser, asking for the community’s support to help raise $168,000 to fund a special medical robot designed to irradiate the pathogens that cause COVID-19.

An ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) robot can deep clean and disinfect “hot spots” in the hospital to kill pathogens, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

To be used in patient areas such as the intensive care unit, as well as general medical units and the hospital’s long-term care facility, the new equipment is an important tool for frontline healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.

But, it's also improving hospital safety for years to come.

Hospital-acquired infections are a global concern. US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show one in every 25 patients contracts an infection while in hospital such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI). One in nine of these patients will die from their infection. In Canada, more than 200,000 patients contract infections in hospital each year and an estimated 8,000 will die. (Source: https://hospitalnews.com/)

A trial of the UVGI robot in 2015 at Surrey Memorial Hospital demonstrated an 80 per cent reduction in bacteria cultured from surfaces in patient rooms, following disinfection with UVGI.

“Environmental cleaning is an essential component of our multi-pronged approach to reducing hospital-acquired infections,” says Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, Chief Medical Health Officer, Fraser Health. “We have made tremendous strides in recent years in enhancing our infection prevention and control practices. UVGI is another layer to keep our patients safe.”

The robot may be the flashiest part of the infection team, but the robots don’t work alone. An Environmental Services (EVS) operator is at the controls, working with Fraser Health Infection Prevention and Control, housekeeping staff and health care aides using traditional and chemical cleaning methods.

While the team is working overtime to keep the hospital safe for patients and the staff that are helping patients get back home to their families, the Foundation is incredible grateful to all the donors who stepped up over the spring and summer to help the fund this important tool to help this team in their efforts.

“As Langley’s hospital continues to be there to meet the urgent care needs of our community, Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation is here to ensure frontline care teams have the best tools and resources they need and deserve,” says Heather Scott, LMHF executive director.

To support Langley's COVID-19 Relief Fund, visit lmhfoundation.com/covid.