Pest Control for Hospitals and Medical Centers
Pest management in hospitals is very challenging. In addition to requiring a high level of understanding of the health implications of both pests and the methods employed to control them, it also requires a very broad knowledge of structural pest control in general.
Along with nursing homes, hospitals are self-contained cities. They have places where people live, food-processing and food service areas, classrooms, mechanical and machinery spaces, offices, laundries, and waste-storage areas. They also have unique and uniquely-sensitive areas like operating rooms, labs, intensive-care units, and maternity wards. Pest management professionals who service hospitals must be experts in effectively controlling pests in all of these contexts.
Most importantly, however, hospitals also contain people whose medical conditions make them especially vulnerable both to pests and to the measures used to control them. Many pests are involved in the transmission of serious diseases, and the last thing hospital patients need is to be exposed to vector-borne pathogens. But people who are ill may also be more sensitive to pesticides, which rules out older pest control methods that relied primarily on spraying chemicals that could become airborne.
Obviously, providing pest control in a hospital requires a technician with both breadth and depth of pest control knowledge, an understanding of the public health implications of both pests and pesticides, and a special sensitivity to the needs of both patients and staff.
Hospital Integrated Pest Management
Pest management in a hospital also requires a modern, enlightened approach to pest control known as Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, that emphasizes a holistic, non-chemical approach to pest management. Techniques such as proper sanitation and waste management practices, habitat modification, exclusion, trapping, inspection, and monitoring are the foundation of IPM. Pesticides are used only when necessary and are precisely applied in only the needed quantities.
The role of an IPM technician is very different from that of an old-school "exterminator." Once the initial pest problems at an account are under control, many IPM technicians don't even bring pesticides into an account during routine service visits. The technician's most important tool is a good flashlight, and he or she is more likely to be carrying an assortment of pheromone-baited sticky traps than an insecticide sprayer.
Most of an IPM technician's time is spent inspecting, checking traps, and consulting with staff. Most pest problems can be substantially reduced using non-chemical methods such as sealing cracks, cleaning up waste-storage areas, repairing window screens, correcting moisture problems, properly storing food products, and using sticky traps to both identify and quickly reduce insect problems. The IPM technician is an expert in all these and many more pest-prevention techniques.
The IPM tech also checks and maintains the sightings log books at various areas of the hospital. The log books are used by staff to record pest sightings, and by the IPM tech to record what measures were taken to address those problems. Communication between hospital staff and the pest management professional is core to the success of the hospital IPM program.
The goal of IPM is to provide a pest-free environment in your hospital with an absolute minimum of pesticide use. When pesticides are needed, however, they're more likely to be applied in tiny drops using a syringe than as sprayed liquids. It's not unusual for an IPM technician to measure his or her use of pesticides during a service visit in grams, not gallons. The days of a hospital stinking of chemicals for days after a service visit are history -- at least if you choose Dayton Exterminating as your pest management company.
Please contact us for more information about how our hospital IPM plans can help keep your hospital pest-free and healthy. We look forward to hearing from you.