The past year raised the already high expectations about the cleanliness of our healthcare facilities in the minds of patients and their families. Likewise, your employees’ safety concerns likely reached an all-time high as they worked to meet the challenges and endure the risks of the demands of COVID-19. With a new level of scrutiny on every aspect of facility cleanliness weighing on perceptions, it’s important to step up all your facility maintenance programs to ensure both patient and employee satisfaction.
While you undoubtedly escalated your sanitation standards at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, have you adjusted your pest control programs to meet those new standards? Changes to admissions, visitation, and operations may have addressed COVID but could have opened the door to new pest pressures. Pest presence can plant a seed of doubt in both the quality of care in your facility and in your employees’ sense of satisfaction.
Your topmost concern is the potential health threat that come along with pests. Vector pests – those that carry and transmit infectious diseases – pose the most serious risk. From the tiny mosquito to the more noticeable rodent, these invaders go beyond nuisance to actual public health concerns because they can spread harmful viruses and bacteria. The same is true of cockroaches and flies. Patients and their families will be troubled by anything that could complicate recovery. For employees who have faced higher risk during the pandemic, they want reassurance that every measure is being taken to keep their working environment as safe as possible.
For both your patients and employees, pests have a negative influence on the perception of cleanliness. Even with stringent cleaning standards, pests can slip through the cracks, and bed bugs can hitchhike in on anyone walking into your building. Because pests often coexist with less-than-sterile conditions, assumptions will be made that those are the conditions of your healthcare facility.
Here are some ways to reinforce your program to help make sure you’re denying pests the opportunity to sour the opinions of those who matter most.
- Assess your surroundings: The environment around your facility can entice pests. Maintain landscaping to minimize places that pests can hide or use as a bridge into your facility, keeping a two-foot buffer between vegetation and your building.
- Secure entrances: For pests, ways in go well beyond doors. Work with your maintenance team to tighten up the exterior, especially cracks low to the ground that pests could slip through. Positive airflow can also help by pushing air out and thwarting flying pests.
- Inspect what’s incoming: Another way invaders can breach your defenses is through your supply delivery. Eliminate cardboard pileups that could harbor or attract insects like cockroaches.
- Monitor high-risk areas: Where there’s food, water, and a hiding place, pests will make themselves at home. A combination of sanitation protocols and careful attention can help with early detection. Focus on the areas that can draw pests like waste disposal, bathrooms, drains, food prep areas, and common areas where people gather.
- Update protocols: In response to the pandemic, you may have shifted the service frequency in certain areas of your facility. Whether you adjusted entrance and exit access to restrict visitation or have adapted use to increase capacity, ask your pest control provider if those changes mean you need to change your pest strategies, too.
If you’re looking to protect everyone in your facility from pests, Western can help you tackle the challenge. We’ll offer a free inspection that gives you insight into overlooked pest pressures and put a plan in place that ensures you, your team, and your patients are safe and satisfied.