We can all contract and spread everywhere we go. Bed bugs are in movie theatres, college dorm apartment buildings, schools, daycare, public transport, and hospitals. They get into such facilities by hitchhiking on people’s belongings.
Bed bugs enter hospitals through patients’ belongings, diaper bags, blankets, and clothing. They cause severe discomfort and worry for the patients. In addition to that, bed bugs ruin the hospital’s reputation and may lead to future financial losses. Thus, healthcare management and staff must develop a strict bed bug policy.
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Are bed bugs in hospitals?
Yes, you can find bed bugs in hospitals. Over a third of all pest control companies in the United States had exterminated bed bugs at hospitals in 2012. The rise in bed bug cases at American hospitals was 6% higher than in 2011. Even worse, the figure doubled that of 2010. The percentage of exterminators who work at home nursing healthcare facilities rose by 46% from 2010 to 2011. Hospital ambulances also fall prey to bed bug problems. A 2015 national pest management association study indicated that bed bug cases at American health centers have been rising over time. The findings showed that bed bugs had been found at 46% to 58% in nursing homes, 33% to 36% in hospitals, and 26% to 33% in doctors’ offices/outpatient services.
Over the past several years, most hospital managements have struggled to control bed bugs. In a move to reduce readmissions and federal funding under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals have moderately regulated bed bug infestations. While bed bugs do not transmit infestation, leaving behind itchy spots. When patients scratch these spots, they develop bacterial infestations. According to Dr. Jorge Parada, bed bugs surges the risk of developing a very potent and contagious staph infection known as MRSA.
Bed bug problems at American hospitals are a significant issue. More preventive actions are required to salvage the situation. On 21st October 2022, Atlanta news reported that officials at Emory University Hospital found bed bugs in a patient’s room. The patient, Christy Duke, who was in the room then, was transferred to another room. Chris Duke and her fiancé had identified bed bugs on the hospital’s pillows, sheets, and wheelchair. The hospital later contacted a local pest control firm to exterminate the bed bugs. However, the patient’s family was displeased by the occurrence and accused the hospital management of negligence.
How bed bugs get into hospitals
Bed bugs enter hospitals in various ways. These include emergencies where people are brought to hospitals via ambulances. All persons getting into the hospitals can be bringing bed bugs.
According to Dr. Jorge Parada, bed bugs are brought to hospitals by patients and people checking in and out of the hospital for various reasons. The hospital management has not learned when someone can show up with bed bugs. This implies that hospitals with higher patient turnover have an increased risk of getting bed bugs.
Hospitals with a higher referral rate from home nursing medical levels are more likely to get bed bugs. You might have difficulties inspecting the elderly since they do not portray similar telltale signs of bedbugs. Bed bugs are good at hitchhiking, making identifying them challenging. People might be carrying them without consent.
Bed bugs can enter the hospital through second-hand items and personal belongings, including clothes. When the hospital purchases or is gifted second-hand items such as beds and other furniture, they risk getting bed bugs.
Signs of bed bugs in hospital
Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that feed on human blood. While they are commonly associated with infestations in homes and hotels, they can also be found in hospitals. Here are some signs to look out for in a hospital setting.
One of the most noticeable signs of bed bugs is their exoskeletons, which they shed as they grow. These are often found in crevices and corners near beds and on mattresses and bedding. If you see a cluster of small, brown, shell-like objects, it may be a sign of bed bugs.
Another sign is bite marks on patients. They are most commonly found on exposed areas of skin, such as the arms and legs. Bed bug bites are often grouped in a line or a cluster and can be very itchy.
Bed bug excrement, which looks like small black or brown dots, is another sign to look out for. You can find them on bedding, mattresses, and even walls and floors near infested areas.
Finally, red stains on sheets can be a sign of bed bugs. Bed bugs cause these stains when crushed while feeding on a patient, and their blood is left behind.
If you suspect a bed bug infestation in a hospital, it is essential to notify hospital staff immediately. Bed bugs can spread quickly and cause discomfort and even health problems for patients.
Where are these signs often located in a hospital?
All hospital staff, visitors, patients, and others store their belongings in lockers. Lockers are the primary storage for personal luggage. Bed bug signs are more prone to lockers since different people place their belongings there. Besides, the built design of bed bugs creates a dark, warm environment that suits hiding, laying eggs, and breeding.
Bed bugs are attracted to laundry baskets since they have dirty clothes. These dirty clothes have a human scent that lures bed bugs into them. The warm and moist environment created by dirty clothes creates an ideal environment to hide in.
Sitting areas are among the high-risk areas. People tend to sit there if they are at the hospital for a short time. However, they also place personal belonging and heavy clothing in the sitting areas. Bed bugs hitchhike there as they wait for their next victims.
Treating bed bugs in a hospital
Bed bugs are a common problem in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. These pests can quickly spread from one area to another, making it challenging to control them. Traditional bed bug treatment methods often involve harsh chemicals that may pose a risk to patients and staff. Fortunately, safe and eco-friendly alternatives, such as heat treatment, have become efficient solutions for bed bug infestations.
Heat treatment is a non-chemical method involving high temperatures to kill bed bugs and their eggs. This method is effective because bed bugs cannot survive at temperatures above 140° F (60° C). It is also eco-friendly because it does not involve using pesticides to kill bed bugs. Heat treatment can be performed in different ways, including using quality steamers or specialized heaters that raise the temperature in the affected area.
Healthcare facilities should take several precautions to avoid harming patients during the heat treatment process. Firstly, patients should be moved out of the treatment area and relocated to a safe place. This may involve transferring patients to a different ward or temporarily moving them to another hospital. The hospital staff should also remove all medical equipment, such as oxygen tanks, from the treatment area.
Secondly, the hospital staff should inform patients and their families about the heat treatment process and its benefits. This can alleviate any concerns they may have and ensure that they cooperate during the process. The staff should also provide patients with appropriate clothing, such as gowns, to wear during the treatment.
In conclusion, treating hospital bed bugs requires a safe and eco-friendly approach. Heat treatment is an effective method that does not involve harsh chemicals, making it safe for patients and staff. Like heat, several other safe, efficient, and eco-friendly methods can deliver the best results if implemented correctly.
More importantly, healthcare facilities must take appropriate measures to ensure that patients are not harmed during their treatment. By following these guidelines, hospitals can effectively deal with bed bug infestations without compromising the health and safety of their patients.
Preventing infestations in your hospital
Preventing bed bugs in a hospital is critical to keeping patients and staff healthy. Achieving 100% prevention is challenging, but the following tips can help you to achieve success:
Educate all hospital staff
The hospital management must educate all hospital staff on bed bugs. Training would allow staff to identify and respond to bed bugs more effectively.
Creating a committee to specifically address bed bug issue
The committee will be responsible for tackling bed bug-related matters at the hospital as well as forming strict rules to control bed bugs.
Practice caution when dealing with transferred patients
Transferred patients may catch bedbugs from their previous hospitals or in the ambulance. Such patients may transfer bed bugs to your hospital. It is necessary to inspect their clothing and change them if necessary.
- Train the cleaning staff to check patients’ clothes for bed bugs and separate them if necessary. Affected clothing should be treated differently and placed at a drier’s max heat for over 30 minutes.
- Regularly vacuum clean high spot areas, including the luggage rooms, lockers, wards, stores, and sitting areas.
- Always perform canine inspections for bed bugs quarterly.
With rising cases of bed bugs nationwide, you should prioritize keeping hospitals free from bed bugs. Dealing with a bed bug infestation at a hospital can be challenging since many people from various places access its services. Bed bug infestations damage your hospital’s reputation and irritate and worry patients. Follow the directions provided in this post to safeguard your hospital from bed bugs.
Can bed bug cross-contamination happen in hospitals?
Yes, cross-contamination can happen in hospital settings due to the influx of people into and out of medical facilities.
How much does it cost to treat bed bugs in hospitals?
The cost of exterminating bed bugs at hospitals depends on the infestation’s size. The price can range from a range of $500 to $1500.
Are hospitals legally liable for bed bug bites on hospitals?
Hospitals are legally liable to compensate for bed bug bites and other related damages.