An Intensive Specialty Hospital staff member sanitizes the soles of her shoes before leaving the boundaries of a COVID-19 ward.

Image courtesy of Intensive Specialty Hospital

Intensive Specialty Hospital (ISH), Shreveport, La., is a community-focused, long-term acute-care hospital serving northwest Louisiana. 

As news of COVID-19 spread around the world in late 2019 and early 2020, the hospital began looking at its day-to-day operations to find practical ways to keep its patients and staff safe. The hospital’s efforts in looking for solutions and early preparation for what would become a global pandemic paid off. 

Throughout the first wave of the pandemic, ISH treated among the highest number of coronavirus patients in the state. Despite that caseload, as of July 2020 — prior to vaccines being available to health care professionals — there were no instances of the virus spreading among hospital staff or patients.

ISH credits this success to its extensive safety precautions.

In addition to looking for new ways to expand its capability and capacity, the hospital undertook specific actions to procure needed supplies to safely care for the expected surge of COVID-19 patients. Those steps included preventive measures such as purchasing and installing multiple HealthySole PLUS Shoe Sole Sanitizers.

“Before we ever treated our first patient with COVID-19, the ongoing discussion was, ‘How are we going to localize this virus to one certain area of the hospital?’” says Dillon Hart, a dual-licensed nurse practitioner at ISH. “We were looking for novel ways to make our staff, patients, providers and referring hospitals feel comfortable. We wanted things that nobody else had, and we wanted things that we knew would work. HealthySole offered a perfect solution for a hospital that was going to have multiple units and treat multiple patients.”

The HealthySole device uses ozone-free ultraviolet C (UVC) light technology to eliminate up to 99.99% of common health care pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococci and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae — as well as more than 99.7% of coronavirus — from shoe soles in just eight seconds. 

HealthySole makes its units by using proprietary high-output, plasma-stable UVC lamps, which have patented plastic encapsulation technology. This makes them shatter-resistant and self-cleaning. Intertek ETL-listed HealthySole devices also are effective against fungi and bacterial spores that travel on shoe soles, which could lead to the spread of infection via inhalation or horizontal translation from surface and air contamination.

Due to the device’s ease of use and implementation, ISH and its staff were able to seamlessly incorporate HealthySole into their infection prevention and control protocols and routines. The devices were set up at the entrances to all the hospital’s COVID-19 wards and provided a way to keep pathogens from being tracked into and out of a COVID-19 ward to the rest of the hospital. While this product was being used, the hospital had no patients contract COVID-19 while in their facility.

“Due to the number of safety measures that we put in place, including our HealthySole units, we have had a very positive success rate in treating COVID-19 patients here within our facilities,” says Shawn Reed, ISH’s director of business development. “The units would be a great benefit to any health care facility that wants to increase its infection control needs. They are easy to use, completely hands-free and they use no chemicals.”

For ISH, the HealthySole units also provided peace of mind for staff members because they were another layer of protection that decreased the risk that they would bring the virus home to their loved ones. This is one way the hospital is actively working to stop community spread. 

“It offers such immense peace of mind,” Hart says of the units. “I have a small child and a wife who works in health care. Knowing when you leave the hospital that you are able to use the HealthySole unit one more time as part of your defense to get home healthy has meant a lot.”