When patients visit your facility, the last thing they want to see is a bed bug, cockroach or rodent. Negative news travels fast, and a healthcare facility’s reputation can plummet in an instant if pest control issues get out of hand. But more than that, pests can lead to unnecessary health risks to patients, especially those with weakened immune systems.
All healthcare facilities have one goal in common, getting and keeping their patients healthy. And even with the highest level of sanitation, pests can easily find their way through the front (and delivery) doors daily.
Common Symptoms of Pests
There are many early indications of pest activity that staff should be aware of and monitor for regularly:
- Bed bugs leave coloured stains, cast skins and egg casings.
- Flies (or maggots) leave small dark clusters of spots in light areas that are the size of a pinhead. They tend to live near garbage and drains.
- Ants leave behind discarded wings near exterior doors and windows, ant dirt and debris.
- Rodents can be spotted by gnaw and rub marks or pellet-like droppings.
- Cockroaches leave brown, suitcase-like egg capsules behind.
- Spiders leave webs, shed skins and egg sacs.
- Pantry pests are usually spotted in products or storage rooms and are identified by larvae (tiny, whitish, and worm-like).
The Cure: Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Even with the most proactive pest preventions in place, the constant cycle of employees, patients and visitors can leave your healthcare facility vulnerable to pests. For a non-invasive approach to pest control for hospitals, the widely adopted best practice is called IPM.
IPM is an ongoing, environmentally-conscious approach that helps establish thresholds and offers plans for every level of pest activity—from minor incidents to more severe problems. The most successful IPM programs:
- Involve staff support
- Keeps detailed records
- Is a true partnership
- Addresses pest hot spots, both inside and outside
- Focuses on inspection and exclusion, opposed to chemical control
Download our full guide to healthcare pest management to learn more and strengthen your defenses against pests.
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Reviewed by Alice Sinia, Ph.D., MSc on July 20, 2021.
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