Pest Control in Nursing Homes

My grandmother resides in a nearby nursing home and we try to visit often.  Just recently, I sat to talk with the director there about their pest control program and was pleased to learn just how knowledgeable and involved she is with the pest management in their facility.  Our discussion did reveal some shortcomings in their program so I’ve offered my advice and opinion.  If you are a nursing home administrator or have a family member who resides in a home, I hope you’ll take time to consider the pest management program and how it can affect the health of the elderly residents.  Let me mention a few things and invite your queries on the subject.

Every single nursing MUST have a formal pest control program in place.  This should be in writing and all staff members should be trained on their part of the process.  The program MUST be Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which places responsibility on every person.  If you think that a good program is simply having a technician walk around performing a “broad application” with his “silver can” then you’re asking for problems.  The nursing home environment is a sensitive area that houses the elderly… many have health issues which may become complicated by application of pesticides and even for those who are healthy, their immune system is diminished which makes them more vulnerable to toxic products.  To be effective in controlling unwanted pests, pesticides (with the least amount of toxicity) must only be applied where necessary, at the lowest possible amount, and strictly as authorized by the product label and applicable governmental statutes.  This involves a lot of inspection, monitoring, staff awareness, and control of conditions that may invite an infestation.

Why on earth would you want to saturate a place with toxic pesticides when it can be managed with other means??

Another issue to be aware and concerned about is the possibility of a bed bug infestation.  Just because your facility does not have a problem, doesn’t mean it won’t happen.  To minimize your risks and to better protect the residents, act now by establishing a formal program which requires preventive procedures and training for every single staff member.  It also requires family members to be involved.  When a new resident arrives, everything they bring should be inspected by a trained person.  Furniture which is brought in by family members should be inspected before placement in a room.  Good sanitation must be applied which includes using a vacuum cleaner to clean hidden areas that may harbor bed bugs (or other pests).  Awareness is necessary so that, when a possible infestation is detected, it can be contained to a small area.  The comfort of nursing home residents is paramount.

Why would you invite a huge bed bug problem if some simple training and awareness could prevent it?  If you choose to ignore this possibility, just imagine the consequences of negative press when bed bugs do find their way in??

If you’re a family member, be cautious about what you bring into the nursing home.  If you buy something at a garage sale, it may contain unwanted critters.  If you take food items to your loved one, take smaller amounts and be sure to place it in a container that you can seal.  There’s no reason to invite pests into the living area if it can be avoided.  When it’s convenient, be sure to talk with the nursing home administrator about the pest control program so you can feel confident that it’s a responsible program and if not, you can nudge them to become more involved.

I could go on and on about specifics but then this article would be too long.  If you have questions or comments, please post them here.  I’m happy to talk with you.

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