Nursing and rehab center reduces airborne infections, improves census with plasma technology

The challenge

The residents of Hialeah Nursing and Rehab Center (HNRC), like those at many other skilled nursing facilities, often struggle with suppressed immune systems or suffer from active chronic conditions like diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  This makes them highly susceptible to infection in the more confined community environment.

emma dial pic
Emma Dial, Hialeah Nursing and Rehab Center

As a result, managing Healthcare-Acquired Infections (HAIs) pose a regular challenge for Emma Dial, Administrator at HNRC, due to HAIs’ high transmissibility, widespread environmental contamination and contribution to premature hospital readmission. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infections are among the most frequent reasons long-term care patients get admitted to the hospital. Adding to this challenge is enhanced resistance – more than 70 percent of bacteria that cause HAIs are resistant to at least one of the drugs most commonly used to treat them.1

Dial noted the biggest pressures she faces at her facility are managing budget with the Medicare/Medicaid cap, minimizing readmissions and maintaining her resident census. In an effort to enhance their pre-existing Infection Prevention and Control Program and further protect their residents from HAIs, Dial and HNRC’s Chief Executive Officer were eager to try the Novaerus plasma technology to help control infections.

The solution

The Novaerus plasma technology mitigates airborne infection by denaturing viruses, bacteria, mold and allergens as well as harmful contaminants including MRSA, C-Diff, Norovirus and influenza.

HNRC initially implemented the Novaerus technology in hallways, activity rooms, dining rooms, and therapy departments over the period of October 2012 through May 2013. In May 2014, a 28-month review was performed to evaluate results.

The results

Implementation of the Novaerus technology has contributed significantly to infection reduction as well as quality improvement efforts at HNRC. The facility’s nosocomial infection rate related to respiratory etiology declined by 33 percent when compared over a 90-day period pre- and post- deployment of the Novaerus technology. The nosocomial infection rate related to C. Diff etiology dropped by 100 percent, and the repeat infection rate declined by 37.5 percent. The reduction in nosocomial infections of all etiologies will have measurable financial and clinical benefits for HNRC. 

Census prior to Novaerus was 50 percent of the building,” Dial claimed. “Now 100 percent of infection outbreak has stopped; I have 100 precent gain in my census after putting Novaerus into my facility.”

Dial noted that every time family members come to visit they are curious about the Novaerus machine. When she tells them it kills the airborne pathogens to reduce infections and destroy odors they say, ‘Why don’t other facilities have Novaerus?’ Dial said that residents and their families being able to see the cleanliness and the infection results coupled with the word of mouth from families serves as the best marketing tool for HNRC.

Dial felt so strongly about Novaerus that she pushed the other HNRC facilities to implement it as well. “I have the oldest, largest building in Miami. I pushed hard to get Novaerus because I knew it would help my facility a lot. That’s why I told all my peers, especially my sister facilities, to get the system.”

airborne infections, Disease Management, Nursing and rehab center, plasma technology, Population Health


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