2 local hospitals battle bedbugs

Windsor's two hospitals have spent time and money battling bedbugs.

Pests come in on patients, and are expensive to remove

Hospitals in Windsor are facing periodic battles with bedbugs.

The most difficult local case happened last year, at Windsor Regional Hospital's western campus. The pests are usually brought in on patients at admission.

Windsor Regional's infection control and housekeeping services worked with Windsor Pest Control to deal with the issue.

"We eradicated the bedbugs, but they had visitors who kept bringing items from home, and the patient's home was infested with bedbugs. That was the problem, because they kept bringing them back," manager of guest services Monica Stanton said. "Bedbugs are not dangerous. They don't carry diseases. They're just creepy."

Because clinical beds have metal frames and plastic-covered mattresses, it prevents bed bugs from settling in permanently.

But when bed bugs do call a hospital home, it's expensive to eradicate them. It took the hospital three months and cost it $5,000 to rid the building of the bugs.

If bedbugs do get into a hospital room, it's evacuated. Pest control professionals are brought in to get rid of them.

"The patient's isolated. All of the belongings are taken from the patient. Anything that came in from their home is removed and contained," said Windsor Regional's vice president Karen McCullough.

Windsor Regional Hospital routinely works with the Windsor Essex Health Unit and other partners to inform and educate the public about bed bugs and what can be done to control and eradicate them.

"It's a nuisance pest, and it can be really time-consuming and expensive to eliminate bedbugs if you do not get on to it very quickly," Windsor Regional Hospital president and CEO David Musyj said in a media release. "Since we are open to the community, issues facing the community find their way into the hospital."

Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital also reports fairly regular incidents. 

"Something like bedbugs frankly is something for the whole community. It's not specific to hospitals. In fact, hospitals, you could argue, are better equipped to deal with it, because we do have the cleaning resources here," Hotel-Dieu Grace spokesperson Steve Erwin said.