When COVID-19 hit, one of the most critical concerns in long-term care centers was reducing the spread of the airborne virus.
But under the leadership of Jason Kwart, vice president of procurement and product development at SignatureHealthCARE, a three-step viral mitigation system was uniquely successful, dramatically reducing the spread of the virus after being installed in October.
The company’s efforts earned it the Gold Award in the 2021 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards in the Skilled Nursing track’s Quality category.
“This was infection control on a new level,” Kwart told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. “We had to think, ‘What could we do to make this a completely sterile environment?’”
Using plasma generators installed in HVAC systems, Kwart and his team immediately took on the challenge of sterilizing SignatureHealthCARE’s centers, which Kwart stated is “the majority of the fight within this pandemic.” Electronic screening stations and shoe sanitation stations were also installed at points of entry, as well as electrostatic mist sprayers.
The pilot test of the new system, conducted in a COVID-19 ward, resulted in an air score of 24 out of 25, an extremely positive rating.
“When we saw that score, we knew we were on the right track,” Kwart said. After ensuring the technology was ready to go, staff worked to implement the new system in all 110 SignatureHealthCARE facilities.
“Within 48 hours, we didn’t experience any positive cases internally because we had created a sterile environment,” he said.
With a completely clean environment, staff morale increased exponentially, Kwart recalled.
“People no longer felt what a lot of people were experiencing during the pandemic within healthcare facilities,” he added.
Other Quality winners in the skilled nursing track:
Silver: Fort Wayne, IN-based Byron Health Center implemented digital communication app Beekeeper to inform staff and family members about changes surrounding the pandemic, as well as help those in quarantine stay in contact with caregivers and family. The technology also includes a chat feature for staff to discuss options for solving COVID-19 challenges in real time.
Bronze: Hillcrest Health Services in Bellevue, NE, put into place interactive, projection technology to boost resident engagement, especially for dementia patients with sensory-based needs. Residents are able to engage with motion-sensor technology that projects on walls and play digital, interactive games such as gardening and blowing bubbles.
For more on the 2021 Tech Awards program and this year’s finalists, visit here.
Sponsors of the 2021 McKnight’s Technology Awards + Summit program are Consensus, iN2L, Medline and SimplyConnect. To view the awards presentation and recordings of the webinars, visit mcknights.com/techawards2021.