People expect their hospitals, doctors’ offices, and clinics to be clean and pest free. It’s just a fact of life. Imagine what would go through a patient’s or visitor’s (or your staff’s!) mind should they see a cockroach or a rodent. Our guess is they might not want to return. Then they’d tell everybody they knew the horrors of what they saw. Now multiply that by the 10s or 100s of people who walk through those hospitals or other healthcare facility doors. Your reputation is on the line with each of them.
With so many people coming in and out of healthcare facilities, it’s tough to stop the many kinds of pests that can hitch a ride on people and their belongings. Pests can also fly, walk, or scurry in when the doors are open. They can come in on deliveries. If there are cracks or holes in the foundation of the building, pests can squeeze their way in. Garbage areas (as well as any other areas that create decay smells) can attract pests from far and wide. With all the ways pests can get in, it’s almost impossible to completely keep them out. The bottom line is that a well-structured pest control program will keep them at a minimum and take care of them before they become a full-on infestation. In the meantime, you and your staff should keep a watchful eye out in the most susceptible areas:
The only thing worse than bed bugs is more bed bugs and in just half a year they can multiply to over 13,000. Early detection is critical in order to stop the bed bugs before they become a building-wide problem. Contrary to their name, bed bugs aren’t limited to beds. You can find them all over the place, including furniture cushions, drapes, clothes, and even electrical outlets.
A vigilant staff is the key to detecting bed bugs and their eggs. Have them inspect the cracks and crevices of upholstered surfaces for signs of bed bugs, like dark, rusty spots on sheets and other places they’re found. Routine inspections by a trained eye are necessary as well. The cost for routine inspections is way less than the cost of bed bug extermination when there’s a large infestation so it’s good for your budget as well as your reputation.
Loading Docks / Warehouses
Cockroaches love to create homes inside of dark cardboard boxes, making the loading docks and warehouses an attractive housing complex for them. Of course, in a healthcare environment, you don’t want anything spreading harmful bacteria to patients who may already be immune compromised, but that’s precisely what cockroaches are known for. Make sure the staff working in these areas keep an eye on incoming deliveries, inspect pallets for signs of all pests (not just cockroaches), and alert a manager immediately should they find something.
Rodents are also attracted to pallets and boxes, so keep an eye out for them, as well. Look for droppings, rub marks on the wall, chew marks, and droppings. Rats and mice are known vectors for many diseases and having them in a healthcare facility can compromise both your staff and your patients. Trash areas should be cleaned and sanitized regularly. Make sure your routine trash pickup isn’t skipping days or increase the frequency should you see rats or mice there. The cafeteria and its kitchen should be kept as clean as possible with daily sanitizing being done, using the “first in first out” method, and keeping all foods in tightly sealed containers. Mice and rats can smell the food through cardboard and can chew right through it. Use plastic or glass airtight containers instead.
Bathrooms, especially public bathrooms, have everything a pest could want. Water, trash — including discarded food — and smells. Rodents, cockroaches, ants, silverfish, you name it. They’re all at home in a public restroom. Your cleaning staff should be trained to spot the signs of pests like these and to report them to a manager upon first sight. Trash cans should be emptied multiple times throughout the day and routine cleaning should include a professional disinfectant treatment.
Wherever Food Is Found
And as they’re grabbing a quick bite, they’re also spreading germs to everything they land on, including patients’ food. So, having a fly infestation is more than just a morale killer among the staff, it’s a public health hazard. And it usually means a sign of a breakdown in sanitation practices and routines. It’s important to keep an eye out for flies and signs of flies. Look for dark clusters of spots (the size of a pinhead) and maggots (which are flies in their larvae stage). A professional can also provide you with drain cleaning (since they tend to reproduce in that environment) services as well as best practices for keeping fly attractants to a minimum.
Don’t let pests ruin your healthcare facility’s reputation. Stay ever vigilant and know that OPC has your back. Our free inspection can give you peace of mind even if we find something, because if we do, we’ll customize a plan to ensure you, your staff, and your patients stay healthy, safe, and pest free.