Infections have long been a problem in hospitals nationwide, but now a small facility in southern Vermont is using a new technology to keep its infection rates down. The hospital has two bacteria-killing fog devices and they're making a big difference.
Inside the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center housekeeper Kathy Candib is busy preparing hospital rooms for new patients.
"My goal to change a room is to clean it as if one of my loved ones was going in there," said Candib.
That means disinfecting it with a six-step process.
But in precautionary rooms where patients have had a particularly infectious type of bacteria such as MRSA or the one that causes Clostridium difficile, or C. diff for short, there's one more step. A Sanosil Halo Fogger, filled with a non-toxic hydrogen peroxide disinfect, is then wheeled in.
Once the room is sealed the device delivers a mist aimed at every nook, cranny and surface of a room.
"We come in with the machine that produces the fog that goes over all the surfaces, because it's humanly impossible to touch every surface in a room. But the fog, because it will dissipate and can go anywhere, will go on to any surface that's open," said Wilma Salkin, an Infection Prevention Coordinator.
The Bennington hospital purchased two foggers 18 months ago. A third is at its long-term care facility. Officials say they bought the machines at about $5,000 each as part of their effort to reduce infections. They say rates were never high, but now they're even lower, especially with C. diff.
"We saw a rate of 13.6 per 10,000 patient days drop to a rate of 4.6 per 10,000 patient days, which is really statistically significant based on the number of days that we had over the period of time," said Salkin.
Salkin says the foggers are used primarily in the precautionary rooms, but they're also placed in others periodically, as well as the operating rooms once a month. It's another tool in their effort to reduce the spread of infections and health care costs overall.
The average daily census at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is 45 to 50 rooms. It costs the hospital $5 each time the Sanosil Halo Fogger is used.
PO Box 4508