Back to Top The power of light: The Ottawa Hospital fights infection with UVC rays - The Ottawa Hospital



The power of light: The Ottawa Hospital fights infection with UVC rays

The power of light: The Ottawa Hospital fights infection with UVC rays

Sophie Jobin prepares a patient room for the R-D Rapid Disinfector, which kills bacteria, fungi and viruses. No one can be in the room when the machine, which emits UVC light, is turned on.

The R-D Rapid Disinfector – nicknamed R2D2 by Housekeeping – is a new weapon in The Ottawa Hospital’s arsenal to combat bacteria that are becoming more and more resistant to cleaning products.

“This device kills all organisms in the room, all the DNA, so they can’t reproduce,” said Sophie Jobin, Training Coordinator for Housekeeping Services, who is training housekeepers to use the disinfector during a three-month trial on 7East. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from patients. They say ‘I’m so glad you’re making the hospital a safe place’.”

The disinfector will help TOH eliminate tricky bacteria such as vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and C. difficile, which cause health-care-associated infections that are a serious problem in hospitals. It can also combat fungi and viruses, such as influenza.

The disinfector looks like a bunch of upright light tubes in a cylinder, but it’s actually an ‘ultraviolet germicidal irradiation system.’ After one patient has been discharged and before the next one is admitted, the device will be brought in to disinfect the room. It emits ultraviolet C (UVC) light to destroy any bacterial, viral or fungal DNA that could be lingering in an already sanitized hospital room. The UVC light sanitizes a room in about 15 minutes, including the washroom.


The R-D Rapid Disinfector is controlled remotely by a tablet computer

“It’s a no-ozone-producing, user-friendly method of sterilization, and yes, it is safe,” explained Kimberly Todd, Environmental Solutions Manager for Southmedic, the company that represents the units. Several safety precautions are in place to ensure that users, patients and employees are never in danger of exposure to the UVC rays:

  • R2D2 is handled only by trained personnel
  • Several sensors ensure that it shuts off if a person accidentally enters the room.
  • The ultraviolet light is unable to penetrate glass, plastic or walls.
  • The machine is remotely controlled by a tablet computer.


The disinfector still relies on housekeepers to do initial thorough cleanings.

“It’s very promising,” said Natalie Bruce, Corporate Infection Control Manager. “And if it reduces the number of C. difficile cases, it will save the hospital money.”


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