In partnership with Ovation Communities, Dr. Christine Kovach’s work studying a germ-eliminating robot is reducing infection rates and improving long-term care worldwide.

At Ovation Communities, we are always striving to find innovative care solutions that enhance the lives and well-being of our residents. Many of our most innovative solutions are the result of a unique partnership with UWM and Dr. Christine Kovach, our first Research Professor in Aging. Dr. Kovach is an internationally recognized researcher and her work, funded by a grant from the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation to the UWM Foundation is making a direct impact on the quality of life and healthcare outcomes for our Ovation residents — and for seniors in longterm care facilities around the world.

In a recent study, Dr. Kovach’s team was the first to test the effectiveness of a germ-eliminating robot called the Xenex machine to reduce bacteria and infection rates in long-term care organizations using pulsed xenon ultraviolet light. Dr. Kovach’s study demonstrated that the device is superior to manual cleaning alone in decreasing infection rates and hospitalization for infection. The new technology is being used in Ovation’s locations on a regular basis.

“All of the work we’re doing is the first of its kind in the country,” says Dr. Kovach. “A lot of what is generally done in the long-term care industry is based on habit, but at Ovation, we’re working proactively to develop groundbreaking solutions that improve care and quality of life.”

The Xenex study was published in the highly regarded and cited publication BMC: Infectious Diseases, and administrators from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin recently came to Ovation to learn about the technology. “We’re definitely forging new territory and sharing that knowledge with others so they can help more people too,” says Dr. Kovach.

Studies like this and Ovation’s commitment to research benefits both the community and long-term care facilities all over the world. “The focus isn’t on status quo—it’s on critical analysis, innovation, and helping people lead rich and meaningful lives,” said Dr. Kovach.

Dr. Kovach says she gets her ideas for new studies from many places, including Ovation’s residents, staff and administrators. For example, Dr. Kovach is planning two new studies with Ovation that came from this unique collaboration. The first study will determine if the use of warming blankets will help residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia feel more safe and comfortable. Typically, warming blankets are used by hospitals to prevent hypothermia. The study will also investigate the use of warming blankets as a therapy to reduce musculoskeletal pain.

The second study will investigate aesthetic responses to different types of visual art for people with dementia. It has long been assumed that abstract art might be confusing for people with dementia, but no one has ever tested that assumption—until now. According to Dr. Kovach, known artists who have developed Alzheimer’s or dementia actually become more impressionistic and more abstract as their dementia progresses, such as the abstract artist Willem de Kooning. The findings could inform art programming and Ovation’s gallery spaces.

How You Can Support Us

These two new projects are currently seeking donors and funding opportunities. We’re thankful to Bader Philanthropies for funding our current study on the impact of pain on sleep quality. The study also examines lung health and solutions for restrictive lung problems.

If these are areas you’re interested in supporting and would like to learn more, please contact Tanya Mazor-Posner, Vice President of Development, at 414-721-9260.