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Best Practices for Preventing Pest Infestations in Healthcare Facilities

 In Blog, Healthcare Facilities

A group of four female doctors in a medical office. Two women are at the back chatting over a desk. Two women are at the front looking at a clipboard.

It’s vital for healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, and long-term care centres, to maintain impeccable standards of cleanliness and hygiene. And while tremendous energy is no doubt directed towards proper sanitization methods, especially with the pandemic in our midst, pest prevention should also be top of mind.

Pest infestations in healthcare settings can lead to serious health risks and jeopardize the well-being of patients and staff. They can also inspire public backlash and give a facility a tarnished reputation following just one patient encounter with a bug or rodent.

This post will explore some of the most robust practices for preventing pest infestations in healthcare facilities.

For us, proactive, preventative pest control is the best form, and while pest control for healthcare facilities will vary between the size, scope and nature of the space — just one of the reasons we deploy customized pest control solutions for our partners — there are a few high-profile measures you can take toward keeping pests at bay.

But first, here’s why preventative measures and pest control services for healthcare are crucial.

Pest Control for Healthcare Facilities Is Vital

  • The mere sight of a pest can cause some patients to experience distress.
  • Pests can carry pathogens that can increase the risk of infection in immunocompromised patients and newborns. For example, studies have shown that cockroaches can spread six types of parasitic worms, at least 33 kinds of bacteria and seven other types of pathogens.
  • Patients may question the quality of care if they see pests in the vicinity.
  • Pests can contaminate supplies.
  • And last but not least, serious legal ramifications may ensue if an infestation emerges and persists.

Maintain the Perimeters

Blocking entry points is one way to stop pests from entering the building in the first place, making it a great form of pest control for healthcare facilities. Caulk any gaps, holes, and cracks that you come across in walls and door and window frames, install screens on doors, and cover outdoor vents with a grill or plate. Doing so can stop rats and mice from entering the space.

Clean downspouts of debris and ensure downspouts are directed away from the building — standing water can entice pests like cockroaches.

Make sure your landscaping contractors know to clip shrubbery and plants back during the winter, pull leaves away from the building and not compact mulch alongside the property.

Keep in mind that while these preventative practices are recommended if you’re wondering about mice and how to keep rats away, it can be harder to keep bugs, like flies, ants and cockroaches, outside simply by tending to your outdoor space.

Train Team Members

Your team members don’t need to be ant, fly or cockroach extermination experts; however, you can raise awareness among staff and patients about the importance of pest prevention. Training programs should include information on recognizing pest signs, proper waste disposal, and strict food storage guidelines.

Encourage staff to report any pest sightings and in quick time. Knowing the warning signs is one of the best types of pest control for healthcare facilities. Nipping a problem in the bud before it becomes a full-blown infestation is critical.

A male nurse in profile from the neck down. They’re holding a newborn baby over a scale

Implement Strict Sanitation Protocols

One of the fundamental principles of pest control in healthcare facilities is maintaining impeccable sanitation. While this is a legally mandated requirement, enforced to mitigate the spread of germs and viruses, it goes a long way toward reducing the potential for pests.

Establish rigorous cleaning and waste management protocols, including:

  • Regularly removing trash and waste prevents the accumulation of organic materials that attract pests.
  • Ensuring food storage and handling areas are clean and well-maintained and provide clients in hospitals and long-term care facilities with robust food storage solutions.
  • Disinfecting patient rooms, common areas, and high-touch surfaces.
  • Imposing clothing rules to mitigate the risk of transferring pests, like bed bugs. For example, team members should leave their uniforms on site and launder and dry all clothing in high-temperature settings; extreme heat is one way to get rid of bed bugs. Rules like these are fundamental if team members transfer between facilities.

Bed bug infestations are especially problematic and will require professional healthcare commercial pest control. One single bed bug can lay around 300 eggs. These creatures can spread dangerous bacteria where immunocompromised patients in healthcare facilities face a greater risk of infection.

Your Best Pest Prevention Method: A Professional IPM Strategy

Sometimes, leaving it to the professionals is the best option; pest prevention in a healthcare facility is one of those scenarios. A pest infestation in a healthcare facility should not be risked. As we’ve discussed, it’s a severe hazard to patient health, both mental and physical, and a PR nightmare.

For us, routine inspections are a vital component of an overarching Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy. IPM is a multi-pronged approach that combines various pest control methods, such as sanitation, habitat modification, and targeted pesticide use (when necessary).

Implementing an IPM strategy can help prevent pests while minimizing the use of pesticides. The trained and insured specialists from GreenLeaf Pest Control can help with preventative pest control in healthcare facilities through the following steps:

  • First, we can help identify the conditions in which pests thrive near the facility.
  • Then, we’ll deploy techniques to identify potential pest infestations before they escalate.
  • Next, we can manage and remove pest access and resources.
  • We can apply Health Canada-certified pesticides to maximize impact on the pest population, with minimal risk to patients and team members — a significant boon in healthcare facilities that house sick people, seniors, and pregnant people.
  • We provide monitoring and follow-up treatment procedures.

Further, we provide detailed documentation following a visit, including maps, logs, licenses and certificates, treatment plans, and a history of inspections. Documentation like this is essential when demonstrating preventative compliance with regulatory government authorities.

The Bottom Line

Healthcare facilities are often stretched to their limits, with overworked team members and at-capacity spaces.

For these reasons alone, it can be difficult to dedicate the time to preventing pest infestations. Learning about what attracts pests, how to limit the potential for an infestation, and how to safely and effectively deploy rat, roach, fly, and ant extermination methods when they happen — it’s a lot to keep aware of.

A top-tier pest control company can not only meet but exceed your pest prevention needs in the safest and most efficient way possible so that you can focus on providing the best quality care to your patients. Connect with our team today for more information.

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