The effectiveness of a dedicated Cleaning Team Post Discharge – A Reduction of Positive Environments

Ms Brigitte Brodie1, Ms Trish Hurst1, Ms Michelle Doidge1

1RBWH, Herston, Australia



Historically at the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital (RBWH), nurses have had the responsibility for cleaning beds after a patient discharge. This practice removes nurses from patient focused care and is often rushed with patient flow pressure.  The admission of patients into an environment possibly contaminated with pathogens such as Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE) poses a risk to patient safety.  Patient Support Officers dedicated to discharge cleaning known as the Yellow Clean Team (YCT) commenced to provide uninterrupted, thorough discharge cleans.


VRE environmental surveillance (i.e. bed rails, phone, call buzzer, mattress, chair) was conducted on all VRE patient discharges at RBWH, a 6-month period from 1/2/14 to 31/7/14 showed 277 cleans were undertaken. Of these 41 (14.8%) yielded a positive environment pathology result.

In February 2015, RBWH launched a dedicated Yellow Clean team (YCT) to undertake all discharge cleaning of rooms where patients have been on Transmission Based Precautions, with priority given to VRE environments.


VRE environmental surveillance was conducted after each VRE Yellow Clean which was undertaken by the YCT.  394 cleans were completed for the period 16/2/15 to 9/7/15; of these 10 (2.5%) environments returned VRE positive pathology attributed to the YCT.   This data showing a significant decrease in positive environments from 14.8% to 2.5%.


A dedicated Cleaning Team can efficiently and effectively achieve a high standard of environmental decontamination, reducing microbial contamination and risk to patients for health care associated infections and allowing nursing staff to deliver patient focused care.


Trish is Clinical Nurse Consultant in the Infection Monitoring and Prevention Service at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. Trish has worked in infection Prevention and Control for the past 13 years at the RBWH and The Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Trish has an interest in embracing new technology that supports infection prevention and control strategies and the delivery of high quality patient centred care

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