A floor-washing robot has been acquired to assist physicists with decontamination of radioiodine therapy ward rooms after discharge of the patient at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. The effectiveness of the robot in decontaminating the ward has been evaluated. A controlled experiment was performed by deliberately contaminating a polyvinyl chloride flooring offcut with 131I followed by automated decontamination with the robot. The extent of fixed and removable contamination was assessed before and after decontamination by two methods: (1) direct Geiger-Mueller counting and (2) beta-counting wipe tests. Surface contamination was also assessed in situ on the ward by Geiger-Mueller counting and wipe testing. Contamination maps confirmed that contamination was removed rather than spread around by the robot. Wipe testing revealed that the robot was successful in clearing approximately 60–80% of removable contamination. The robotic floor-washing device was considered suitable to provide effective automated decontamination of the radioiodine ward. In addition, the robot affords other benefits: the time spent by the physicists decontaminating the room is greatly reduced offering financial and occupational safety and health benefits. The robot has also found utility in other decontamination applications in the healthcare environment.
* Medical Technology and Physics, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia; † School of Physics, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.