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Cleaning robots deployed to care homes

TPLC deploys robotic cleaners to combat COVID-19 in care homes

The Perfect Little Company (TPLC) has secured funding from Innovate UK to improve social distancing measures in the cleaning process, and to test the effectiveness of robotic cleaning solutions in reducing pathogens in care homes.

Oxfordshire-based TPLC’s robots (called Abbee) have been used to vacuum large offices, schools etc. but with the support of Innovate UK, a trial can now be undertaken in care homes to evaluate if pathogens are reduced by using robots for sanitisation purposes. The trial is approved for 20 care homes (including two GP surgeries).

The funding was approved because of the vulnerability of many care home residents and unfortunate higher rates of infection. Assisting the cleaning teams with sanitisation and robotic vacuuming will minimise human contact in potentially infected communal areas as well as relieving some pressure off their stretched cleaning teams, who now have many additional sanitising tasks during this time.

As part of the project, TPLC teamed up with Residual Barrier Technology (RBT) and will also be delivering five litres of their residual barrier solution.

During these uncertain times care homes have no choice but to remain operational, meaning they still need to be cleaned. Cleaners often circulate more than most people within a building, meaning they are naturally more at risk themselves, and of spreading the virus to vulnerable residents. Using robots will undoubtably work towards keeping people safer.

TPLC will be providing pathogen test machines and each home will be asked to test specific areas before, during and after using the robots. TPLC is expecting the results to be of significant interest and may well change how high-risk areas will be cleaned in the future. TPLC has also created a virtual training programme.

TPLC’s Abbee robots already operate successfully in several care homes including the St Monica Trust retirement village in Bristol. Karen Hedderwick, Catering and Housekeeping Team Leader for St Monica, commented: “Our residents' safety is incredibly important to us. The Abbees help us to vacuum a large area to a high standard during the quietest times within the home.”

Michael Richardson, CEO of TPLC, said: “Clearly, the virus outbreak has put a renewed urgency behind the trend towards increased automation and use of robots within commercial cleaning sector. We’ve seen an upturn in requests, but we also felt it was important to offer our services complimentary to those in most need. Thanks to Innovate UK, this has been made possible. We hope this initiative will help towards slowing the spread of Coronavirus.”

www.tplc.uk

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