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Infection risk in care homes drops 41% thanks to robots
In a UK Government-funded trial, robots were used to clean the floors in 25 care homes and the results showed that pathogen levels dropped by 41% in just three days.
The trial, funded by Innovate UK as part of the fight against Covid-19 and provided by The Perfect Little Company (TPLC), used advanced ATP testing equipment, commercial robotic vacuums and antiviral surface cleaner. The aim was to see if the combined technologies would reduce pathogen levels.
Controlled tests were taken for two days prior to the introduction of the Abbee cleaning robots and then for three days following the introduction. The pathogen levels dropped on average, by 41% from the control test level to the levels achieved by the automated robotic vacuum. Reductions were seen across various floor types including carpeted and hard floors, both with and without the antiviral surface cleaner.
Traditionally the robots have been used to vacuum offices, hotels and schools. With the the support of Innovate UK, TPLC (an Oxfordshire based business and a leading provider of commercial automated vacuums in the UK) were able to provide complimentary Abbees to care homes across the UK. This was to ascertain if pathogens are reduced by using robots for cleaning and sanitisation purposes.
Abbees are becoming a common sight in commercial and educational settings but this was the first time they were tested in the care homes, and the first time that their cleaning ability was tested at a microbial level. The Ensure Touch ATP testing equipment is extremely accurate and is used extensively in healthcare and food production.
"We have really enjoyed being part of the trial,” reports Gary Abbey, CEO of Blossom View Respite Home, who participated in the trial. “The robots are a good addition to save time and allow staff to focus their time on high frequency touch points.
"I think this type of technology can improve standards of infection control."
Michael Richardson, CEO of TPLC comments: "A huge thanks to all contributing care homes. As is regularly the case with new learning and testing, it is the contribution of the few that creates the benefits for the many.
“By being part of the trial, they have helped us successfully prove that pathogen levels are reduced by using robots and that staff time is saved so teams can concentrate on the more important tasks. With these findings, we believe our automated solution would suit premises such as schools and GP surgeries - where cleaning is outside of opening hours and reducing transmission is paramount.”
With regard to time saving, a post survey showed that 35% of the care home staff 'strongly agreed' that robotic cleaning saved their staff time. 88% also agreed or strongly agreed that robotic cleaning has a useful role alongside manual cleaning. 100% of care homes also reported that the automated vacuum solution was easy to use.
This virus outbreak has shone new light on the importance of high cleaning standards and the reduction of cross contamination. An increase in automation and the use of robots within the cleaning sector helps improve overall cleanliness and reduces the number of people who come into contact with the cleaning equipment. TPLC was pleased that the results confirmed what had been felt was the case with an impressive reduction of pathogen levels and an increase in time savings.
22nd April 2021