Norman Regional Health System’s ultraviolet technology helped fight the flu at 15 central Oklahoma schools recently.

by Bobby Anderson
Staff Writer

Clyde Brawner has worked for Norman Regional Health System for 33 years now.
But the director of environmental services and distribution transportation has never seen his organization have the kind of impact in such a short period as it did recently.
“Our health system CEO (Richie Splitt) saw the rise of flu cases as something that we as a health system needed to involve ourselves with from a community outreach stance,” Brawner said.
While the flu was raving Cleveland County and the rest of Oklahoma, Splitt visited with the superintendents from Moore, Noble and Norman public schools to work out the logistics that would bring the same germ fighting technology Norman Regional employs in patient areas to the classroom.
All three districts were more than willing to invite the Xenex robots and Norman Regional employees into the schools.
Eleven germ-fighting robots descended upon central Oklahoma recently to fight germs including the flu virus in local schools.
The XENEX Lightstrike Germ-Zapping Robot is a UV disinfection robot.
The robot uses a pulsed xenon lamp to create intense germicidal ultraviolet light that effectively kills the germs that cause serious infections such as influenza, C. difficile, MRSA and more.
Xenex drop-shipped the robots at the school sites and Norman Regional healers followed behind.
“We have certified users within the health system,” Brawner explained. “We developed three teams composed of four to five employees along with school custodial workers. We trained the custodial workers on the use of the devices and the super users from the health system actually oversaw the teams as they went about disinfecting the classrooms.”
“What it does is disinfect by changing or distorting the DNA makeup so that organisms, viruses, germs or spores can not replicate,” Brawner said.
The machines look like R2D2 with the ability to emit UV light 10 times brighter than the surface of the sun.
Within the health system, Brawner explained the robots are used in the terminal clean process, disinfecting a 14-foot radius per cycle. Typically rooms are run in two or three five-minute cycles.
Feedback was impressive.
“Everybody was so thankful we partnered with them,” Brawner said.
Brawner learned that at one particular Norman school no new flu cases were reported the week of the Xenex cleaning.
“I was impressed when I heard that one,” he said. “I will tell you it really was a great opportunity to do that.”
For the past two years, Norman Regional Health System has used its four Lightstrike robots daily to enhance safety by disinfecting patient rooms and other hospital areas.
The health system has been impressed for the last two years utilizing the robots, reporting a 35-percent drop in healthcare acquired infections.
Richie Splitt, president and CEO of Norman Regional, said since the hospital had seen great results, it wanted to share the robots’ capabilities with the community.
“Norman Regional is committed to improving the health of our community, both inside and outside our hospital doors. If we could provide a robot in every classroom we would, but we’re doing the next best thing by sending 11 robots to our partners at local schools to fight the flu,” Splitt said. “As a healthcare provider, we’ve seen how illness can spread quickly and we know that children learn better when they are healthy. Through this partnership with XENEX and local schools we are helping to keep our kids, educators, and parents healthy.”
Norman Regional has expanded its Xenex use to elevators, restrooms, and clinics to help curb the virus.
Matt Crowe, Xenex territory manager, said Norman Regional’s request for extra robots was an easy one to fulfill.
“Norman Regional is dedicated to creating the safest environment possible and we are extremely proud to help them protect the communities that they serve,” Crowe said. “Xenex is the global leader in UV disinfection and our Germ-Zapping Robots are highly effective against the resistant pathogens that challenge our cities and our hospitals the most: C. difficile, MRSA, Norovirus and Influenza.
“Through our combined efforts this week, we are proactively making a safer environment for all of these students and teachers. Families in these school districts should be thankful to have a health system so dedicated to their well-being.”
After the week, the extra robots were returned to XENEX, but Norman Regional’s four permanent robots kept working throughout the system.
Norman Regional Health System Infection Prevention Specialist Julie Smith, RN, MS, CIC says hospital sites around the country have shown impressive declines in organisms by using the system including:
* 70% reduction in ICU C. diff infection rates
* 53% reduction in C. diff infection rates
* 57% reduction in MRSA infection rates
* 100% elimination of VRE in isolation rooms

Travel through history and be entertained at the 2018 Oklahoma History Center Conference.

Photography and Text by Terry “Travels with Terry” Zinn

You don’t need to physically travel to a far away destination to be informed and entertained. This year the Oklahoma Historical Society offers its 125 th annual History Conference at the Oklahoma City location of the Oklahoma History Center, April 25, 26, and 27. The three day conference features three tours, two luncheons and one reception and one concert, of the musical, “Oklahoma.”
Headlining the presenters will be Ted Chapin, president of the Rodgers and Hammerstein organization in New York, and David Grann, author of “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.” Dick Pryor, general manager of KGOU will serve as emcee of the annual awards luncheon on Friday, April 27, at noon. The awards luncheon will celebrate accomplishment in Oklahoma history and induct four people into the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame.
The other presenters will speak during the course of 18 presentation sessions. The Thursday speakers include Mark Janzen, Edmond, Jonita Mullins, Muskogee, Jan Davis, Oklahoma City, Kitty Pittman, Oklahoma City, Michael Hightower, Oklahoma City, Christopher H. Owen, Tahlequah, Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Oklahoma City, John Thomas Truden, Norman, and Mark Dolph, Tulsa.
Making presentations on Friday will be Rusty Willliams, Dallas, Texas, Sydney Stover, Cheyenne, Davis D. Joyce, Spavinaw, Kathryn Shurden, Henryetta, Craig Corgan, El Reno, Landry Brewer, Sayre, Chester Cowen, Norman, T. S. Akers, Oklahoma City, Bob Blackburn, Oklahoma City, John Bedford, Oklahoma City, Mark Parker, Oklahoma City, and Jo Rowan, Oklahoma City.

On Thursday, April 26, the Oklahoma Historical Society will partner with Oklahoma City University to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Broadway debut of “Oklahoma!” OCU students will perform songs from the musical and the first iteration “Green Grow the Lilacs” written by Oklahoman Lynn Riggs. The event will feature a special video by Broken Arrow native Kristen Chenoweth, who participated in the 50th anniversary of “Oklahoma!” as an OCU student. This performance is open to the public and tickets can be purchased by calling 405-522-0317. 6:30–8:00 p.m. An additional program is being offered called, Celebrating Oklahoma! at 75, in celebration of the musical’s 75th anniversary, this program will trace the story of Oklahoma! and its influence on musical theater. The event will feature performances by students from the Oklahoma City University Wanda L. Bass School of Music.
Also, on Thursday, April 26, the OHS will sponsor a bus tour of ‘89er landmarks in Oklahoma City led by Chuck Wiggin. Other tours include a tour of the State Capitol restoration by Capitol Project Manager Trait Thompson and a Behind-the-scenes tour of the Oklahoma History Center.
On Wednesday April 25th the registered public is invited to a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.,at the Oklahoma Judicial Center, formerly the home of OHS.
Ted Chapin, the president of the Rogers and Hammerstein Organization, New York City will present, “The Legacy of Oklahoma!” at 9 am on April 26th.
At noon, at the Annual Conference Luncheon,Keynote speaker David Grann, author of “ Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,”will present the background making of the popular book.
Sessions on Friday will include talks on, “ “The Red River Bridge War: When the Boundary between Oklahoma and Texas Became an Armed Camp, “The Art of War on the Washita,” and “The Origins of Freemasonry in Oklahoma,” by T. S. Akers, curator of collections, McAlester Valley of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Oklahoma City, among others. A complete listing of topics and speakers are available at
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains 31 museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit
To attend and hear your selection of nineteen different speakers, and tours and luncheons, you must register by April 20th, either on line at, or by contacting Larry O’Dell at 405-522-6676 or or Shelly Crynes at 405-522-0317 or

What are you looking forward to about spring? Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command

Sunshine and not having to wear four coats. I love the sunshine.  Lisa Sydnor

Outside activities – I love to fish and I love to do yard work.  James Dixon

It doesn’t make a lot of difference because I can’t tell the difference between winter and spring.  Kenneth Tolle

I love my gardening and the outdoors and helping others because in winter everyone hides. Linda Garza

Darlene Franklin is both a resident of a nursing home in Moore, and a full-time writer.

Sex crimes. Guns and nuclear weapons. Uncertain leadership. Hurricanes. Mass shootings in our schools and malls.
Those topics drove the daily news on both local and national levels in 2017.
Other news dominates the prayer time of church services at the nursing home where I live: people diagnosed with cancer, family who doesn’t visit, children who’ve gone astray, friends who’ve died, service men and women.
Some of the prayer requests are repeated word for word, week after week. At times, I struggle to empathize with the person who’s crying for someone to see the world as she does, to care, to make the daily rounds of discouragement stop.
But then I recognize I have a tendency to do the same thing. When I hear myself repeating the same request several times, I realize that struggle is my norm. Some days, I feel wide awake and can work with a clear head for several hours. Those are the exception. Other days, like today, I wake up with a headache and muscle pain. Somehow the normal, not-so-good days, strike me as more noteable than the so-called good days.
The media also reports stories of heroism and larger-than-life personalities. We celebrate the stories, but worry about the scary stuff, casting gloom with social media tidbits. At the nursing home, we welcome happy news of birthdays, births, anticipated visits. It’s not always easy to find.
After one sleepless night, I gave passing thought to staying in my room. Instead, I decided to go to the service. As soon as I arrived, I spoke to the leader. “I’m here by faith today. Please pray for me.” My physical health didn’t improve but my attitude did. As I told the teacher, God is good even when I don’t feel it.
So, was it bad news-illness? Or was it good news-God’s faithfulness? Apparently, my perception decided where on the good-to-bad scale the day fell.
My granddaughter’s high school graduation arrived with news of her unwed pregnancy. The unexpected development has become has become a case for great rejoicing within the family.
Last month, I spent three days in the hospital after a possible heart attack. They gave me a multitude of tests before releasing me. My heart was in the same shape it was in ten years ago. That’s a miracle!
The last time I awaited surgery, I wrote cheers to fight the fear of death I struggled with. This time, I faced the possibility of heart stints and blood transfusions in absolute peace.
My son, Jaran, has endured more than many men his age (38). All his wife’s elder relatives have passed away over the past ten years. His family deals with a never-ending cycle of difficulties ranging from illness to injury, divorce, and the like. In spite of it all, their faith grows, my son has favor with his employer, and he actively shares his faith.
My cousin Jan experienced an early brush with simultaneous loss-her mother’s death and divorce. They prepared her for the ordeal when her son almost died from a traffic accident.
Look at presidential elections. Every four years multiple camps fight, convinced their candidate is the best for the country. After election night, a good percentage of the population is disappointed with election results-bad news to that party or candidate.
If I allow myself to be afraid of bad news, I’ll in a constant state of distress.
In my life, I’ve decided that when rain falls, it sometimes creates natural disasters as often as if provides necessary refreshment. The news, like the rain, is neutral by itself. What varies is how I respond.
When I first started to earn additional income from writing, I planned to use it to pay down debt or build a small savings amount. Instead, it would arrive when my car needed repair or my glasses had broken. The pay I had anticipated as good financial news instead could have become a matter of discouragement. It happened often enough that I learned to thank God for providing for unexpected expenses and letting go of my plans.
We don’t know the author of Psalm 112, but he says people don’t have be afraid of bad news. That’s good to hear, because it comes our way frequently.
The psalmist isn’t concerned about the news, good or bad. The point is “their hearts are steadfast, trusting the Lord.”
That’s how we can be sure we can withstand daily news: To stand secure in the circle of God’s loving care.

When not writing best-selling fiction, Franklin pens a column for Book Fun Magazine, “The View Through My Door,” her unique perspective on life from a nursing home. Franklin’s titles are available at online retailers as e-books and in print. Her complete list of fifty, as well as dozens of collections to which she contributed, can be found at

Dear Savvy Senior,

My mom has Alzheimer’s disease and has gotten to the point that she can’t live at home any longer. I need to find a good memory care residential unit for her but could use some help. Any suggestions? Exhausted Daughter

Dear Exhausted,
Choosing a good memory care residential unit for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is a very important decision that requires careful evaluation and some homework.
Most memory care units, sometimes called special care units, are housed within assisted living or nursing home facilities. At their best, they offer staff extensively trained in caring for people with dementia, individualized care that minimizes the use of dangerous psychotropic drugs, a home-like environment and activities that improve residents quality of life. But at their worst, they can offer little more than a locked door. Here are some steps that can help you find a good facility and avoid a bad one.
Make a list: To identify some good memory care residential units in your area ask your mom’s doctor for a referral, and use the Alzheimer’s Association online tool at Make sure the facilities on your list are close to family members and friends who can visit often, because residents with frequent visitors usually get better care.
Research your options: Once you’ve made a list, contact your local long-term care ombudsman (see This is a government official who investigates assisted living and nursing home complaints and can tell you which facilities have had problems in the past.
If you’re looking at a memory care unit within a nursing home facility, use Medicare’s nursing home compare tool (, which provides a 5-star rating system.
Call the facilities: Once you’ve identified a few facilities, call them to find out if they have any vacancies, if they provide the types of services your mother needs, what they charge and if they accept Medicaid.
Tour your top choices: During your tour, notice the cleanness and smell of the facility. Is it homey and inviting? Does the staff seem responsive and kind to its residents? Also be sure to taste the food, and talk to the current resident’s family members, if available.
Also, find out about staff screening and training procedures, their turnover rate, and the staff-to-resident ratio. They should have at least one staff member for every five residents.
Make sure the facility offers quality activities that can keep your mom engaged, even at night when she may be awake. Ask how they respond to residents who may wander or become aggressive. If the answer is locked doors and antipsychotic drugs, that’s a red flag.
Because transitions can be unsettling for dementia suffers, make sure that your mom will be able to remain at the facility for the foreseeable future. And find out what, if any, health conditions might require your mom to leave the facility or move to a higher and more expansive level of care.
It’s also a good idea to make multiple visits to the facility including an unscheduled visit at night or on weekends when the staff is more likely to be stretched thin.
To help you evaluate your visit, the Alzheimer’s Association offers a checklist that you can access at
Paying for care: The national average costs for memory care within an assisted living facility is over $5,000 per month, and over $7,500/month for nursing home care, but costs can vary widely depending on your location. Since Medicare does not cover long-term care, most residents pay for care from either personal savings, a long-term care insurance policy, or through Medicaid (if available) once their savings are depleted.
To help you research your financial options, visit the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information website at

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program serves residents in nursing homes, assisted living centers and residential care homes. An Ombudsman helps to improve the quality of care and life for the residents. As a friendly visitor and advocate, the volunteer has many opportunities to be of service and enrich the lives of the residents.
Interested individuals must be willing to attend a two day training in order to become a certified volunteer and spend a minimum of two hours per week in the facility for which they are assigned visiting and advocating for the residents. Additionally, volunteers must be able to attend a monthly meeting for on-going training and supervision.
If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of those residents in Canadian, Cleveland, Logan or Oklahoma County, the next training is scheduled for April 25th and 26th from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at Areawide Aging Agency located at 4101 Perimeter Center Drive, Suite 310, Oklahoma City, OK. Both sessions must be completed to become a certified volunteer. For more information or to RSVP for the upcoming training, contact an ombudsman supervisor at (405) 942-8500.

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor
Apr 5/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Apr 7/ Saturday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 473-9239/ Williams
First Christian Church – 11950 E. Reno Ave.
Apr 10/ Tuesday/ Yukon/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 350-7680/ Kruck
Dale Robertson Center – 1200 Lakeshore Dr.
Apr 13/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S.W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
Apr 14/ Saturday/ Chandler/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 834-2348/ Brase
First United Methodist Church – 122 West 10th Street
May 3/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
May 8/ Tuesday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 307-3170/ Palinsky
Norman Regional Hospital – 901 N. Porter Ave.
May 11/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S.W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
May 15/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky
Rose State Conventional Learning Center – 6191 Tinker Diagonol
Gordon Cooper Tech. Center – One John C. Burton Blvd.
The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to:

Eliza Chakravarty, M.D., in the clinic.
The flu shot is still your best defense against the virus.


This year’s flu season proved to be one of the worst in decades, and new evidence shows it isn’t over yet.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning this week that a new strain of flu is making a push in the U.S.
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation immunologist Eliza Chakravarty, M.D., said the predominant strain for this season’s outbreak has been influenza A, specifically H3N2. Cases of this strain of flu are now on the decline. But flu cases involving another strain—influenza B—appear to be surging.
“Flu season is generally winding down, but we aren’t in the clear, and people need to remain vigilant in protecting themselves and their families, especially young children,” said Chakravarty. “Influenza B can be just as serious as influenza A, and it has been known to be severe in young children.”
Even though this year’s flu shot proved largely ineffective against H3N2, it does appear to be far more effective in preventing influenza B. This means getting a flu shot is still your best possible defense against contracting the virus.
“It is actually possible to get sick with multiple strains of the flu during a single season,” said Chakravarty. “The flu is miserable. Don’t go through it if you don’t have to, especially twice.”
From Sept. 1 through March 17, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reports 242 flu-related deaths in the state, as well as more than 4,450 hospitalizations.
“If you can physically get the flu shot, do it, even this late into the flu season,” she said. “This virus is deadly. You will not get the flu from the shot; that is a myth that needs to be eliminated. The shot can save your life or the life of someone you love.”

by Ron Hendricks

Oklahoma City is becoming a Hearing City in 2018. The Civic Center officially “cut the ribbon” to the newly installed Hearing LOOP on February 26. The hearing loop system is hard wired into the auditorium and will transmit sound directly into a hearing aid or Cochlear implant with a “T” coil. The LOOP is actually a wire that is installed on each floor, all of the box seats, the concession stands, and the box office too. Ana Covey, representative of the Assist2Hear, who installed the LOOP said, “This is just so exciting because they (the Civic Center) specifically put this hearing loop in to invite the hearing loss community back to the theater and to experience the arts.”
Prior to the formal opening several individuals were invited to events. Some of their comments: Shari Richard said, “ I attended The Nutcracker… The new loop system made my listening experience so much more enjoyable. The music was richer and clearer with my t-coil using the loop than it was with my CI processor alone.” Fannae’ Homer Shields reported that, “ …the music was awesome, as my T-coil picked up some high light sounds. I didn’t experience any disconnect nor any static coming from the looping wiring. I totally enjoyed the show and all the music!” Nancy Landrum said, “… the music was so much richer and fuller with the telecoils. I could hear the individual instruments, the bow slide across the violin strings, and the bells! Ah, the bells. I could hear them so distinctly.”
Hearing Loss Association of America Central Oklahoma Chapter is proud of our member and Assist2Hear’s Ana Cover and the excitement she brings to every project with which she is associated. Assist2Hear provides hearing solutions for the hearing impaired in large venues and churches throughout the Oklahoma — indeed, anyplace where people gather. Ana states, “We are committed to helping people hear better and live better.” And that is the purpose of Central Oklahoma Chapter of HLAA too.
You can join Central Oklahoma Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America and Ana Covey and become a part of the “Oklahoma City Hearing Loop Initiative.” After all, it is an ADA requirement, that facilities offering public access where sound is integral to the space, must offer hearing assistance to those who need it and the hearing loop is by far, the user-preferred system. Ana Covey, Sales Rep. and Marketing Director can be contacted at (405) 640-5152 for a free presentation and site visit to churches, community centers, civic buildings, performance arts centers and more. Or contact Central Oklahoma Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America. (405) 717-9820 or visit our website,