Environmental Monitoring – All I need is the air that I breath…

Ms Julie Johnson1, Ms Kim Comensoli2

1Yarrawonga Health, Yarrawonga, Australia,
2Northeast Health Wangaratta, Wangaratta, Australia


Environmental Monitoring is often seen as the elephant in the china shop, does it engender more anxiety and harm than it alleviates….. or can it create more challenges than it solves.

Infection Prevention has a long and exciting history in innovative solutions, which when combined with  a rapidly growing evidence based legacy, clinicians are now more than ever supported in their  decision making. This presentation revolves around what process can we follow when their is no clear way forward. Our question is  what role does environmental monitoring have on the contemporary playing field – is it in the air that we breath.

This presentation takes you on a journey through many different levels experiencing the trials and tribulations experienced by two Health Facilities when unexpected environmental monitoring results caused prolonged closures of high risk areas after routine preventative maintenance during the annual close down period.

Working through the details created many challenges as few experts were available to discuss options available to us against a background of needing to become operational within the shortest time frame necessary.

Learning to be experts in the esoteric areas of particulate levels, air exchanges, pressure differentials and pascals was part of the learning curve as well as understanding the impact of background environmental levels and maintenance requirements in high risk areas (reading the fine print), we soon learned that not those involved spoke the same language.

Environmental monitoring can be likened to Pandora’s box and once opened be prepared to face many unusual challenges.


Infection Prevention has been a long-standing passion of mine commencing from my early years as a perioperative nurse. I have been nursing over 45 years in many diverse practice areas from remote, rural, regional and tertiary – during this time I have been fortunate to have had an eclectic mix of opportunities and experiences which continue to reinforce the importance of the fundamentals of Infection Prevention and their integration into our daily practice.

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