When one hospital discovered a cancer patient lived in a home with bed bugs, it took stern action, refusing to provide a diagnostic scan and radiation treatment to the infested person. Another facility canceled a procedure for a kidney-disease sufferer under similar circumstances.
Both institutions eventually relented when public-health nurses got involved and eased their fears, but the incidents were not unique, suggests a new report.
Many Canadians afflicted by bed bugs are facing extra delays in getting medical treatment or outright denial of service from health-care workers reluctant to expose themselves to the nocturnal pest, the report suggests.
“I have seen many situations where [infested] patients were not treated as fairly as other patients — they were discharged faster, they were staying longer on the waiting lists,” said Maude Laliberté, a physiotherapist and University of Montreal professor behind the article in the journal HEC Forum. “It’s a real problem ”
Bed bugs had been all but eliminated in North America by the middle of the last century, only to reemerge with a vengeance over the last decade.
When one Toronto home-care worker did decline an assignment in an infested residence, Ontario’s Labour Ministry actually ruled that the insects were not grounds for work refusal, said Ms. Dyson.
A 2012 Winnipeg Regional Health Authority document also states that visiting infested patients — so long as the employee is properly trained and equipped — does not constitute “dangerous work.”
Woodgreen, considered a leader in tackling the bedbug problem, has agreed to compensate its personal-support workers up to $500 to eliminate infestations related to their jobs. It happens to staff about twice a year, Ms. Dyson said.
What can health care facility managers do to prevent bed bug concerns?
It’s important to understand that bed bugs are attracted to a host, and are transported primarily by people and their belongings. Therefore, populations of bed bugs in a facility have more do with the patients, visitors, vendors and staff of an organization than the structure itself.
- Facility managers should have a published bed bug protocol, and staff should be trained to recognize bed bugs and evidence of their presence.
- Intake procedures to screen incoming clients and bag their belongings may also help. Items suspected of infestation should be contained until they can be removed, sanitized or disposed of.
- Helpful preventative strategies include regular vacuuming or steam cleaning areas prone to bed bugs, such as under and around beds, upholstered furniture and at wall/floor junctions.
- Managers should ensure there is not clutter, cracks, crevices and holes near beds.
- Waiting rooms, visitor lounges, common areas, laundry rooms, and equipment such as wheelchairs and food carts, should be regularly inspected for bed bugs.
Professional bed bug detection and treatment options
The pest control company hired should have trained specialists that know how to seek out the hiding places where bed bugs hide. They should use the latest technology and stay up to date on new methods of detection. By partnering with a reliable pest control provider, you can focus on running other aspects of your healthcare facility and not have to worry about pests and pest control.
Thermokill provides bed bug heat treatment to get rid of bed bugs in a safe but efficient manner. Unlike chemicals, the heat isn’t harmful and won’t damage your property or have any negative effects on your health. We put your safety and satisfaction first.