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Pest Control in Nursing Homes and Assisted-Living Centers

An old man hugging a toddler girl at a nursing home

Nursing homes, assisted-living homes, and retirement communities are like self-contained cities. They're a lot like hospitals in that regard. They have residential areas, mechanical areas, commercial kitchens, medical and dental offices, shops, theaters, and sometimes even taverns. They also have people living there who may be especially vulnerable both to pests and to the old-fashioned methods used to control them, like the smelly chemicals that old-school exterminators used to spray on every inch of baseboard.

There's an important difference, however, between hospitals and residential elder-care facilities: Nursing homes and other assisted-care facilities for the elderly are also homes, and the people who live there are residents, not patients.

This may seem like a subtle difference that should be irrelevant to a pest management professional, but it isn't. Unlike hospitals, where most of the consumers are transients with respect to the hospital, residents of elder-care facilities are there most of the time and tend to notice things like pests. That's actually a good thing for the pest control technician because the more sets of eyeballs there are looking out for pests, the easier the pest control technician's job can be.

Unfortunately, too many pest control technicians run through elder-care facilities as if they can't wait to get out. They settle into a routine of treating kitchens and bathrooms, and pretty much ignoring everything else -- most of all the people.

That's sad and insensitive on a lot of levels, but it's also just plain dumb from a pest control point of view. The residents, more than anyone else, know where the pests are. Ignoring that information is the sign of a technician who not only lacks respect for the elderly in general, but who also doesn't care very much about how well he or she does their job.

That's not us.

Pro Zone Pest Control treats nursing homes, assisted-living homes, and other residential elder-care facilities as homes, first and foremost. The techniques that we use and the precautions that we take are similar to those that we employ in hospitals; but our attitude is one that respects the fact that we are being invited into a home, not an institution, when we arrive to do our work. The residents are the reason for our work, not a hindrance to it; and their well-being is our utmost priority.

 

IPM in Residential Elder-Care Settings

Pro Zone Pest Control adheres to the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) philosophy of pest control. IPM is a holistic approach to pest management that favors detailed inspections, monitoring, record-keeping, and other non-chemical pest control measures over the use of pesticides. The IPM technician's most important tool is a flashlight, and he or she spends a lot more time inspecting than applying pesticides.

We do use pesticides when they are needed, but only when they're needed. And when we do use them, we select the ones that are least hazardous to humans, use only as much of them as we need, and apply them using precision application equipment like syringe gel applicators. But most of the time we spend inspecting, checking monitors, and reading sightings logs.

The sightings logs are central to making an IPM program work. They're forms, usually loose leaf-bound, that are kept at easily-accessible places like nursing stations or floor managers' offices. Any staff member or resident who sees a pest or evidence of a pest is requested to make a note of it in the log. The pest control technician checks the logs at every scheduled service, investigates the problem, and makes a note of whatever corrective action was taken and what, if any, follow-up treatment is needed.

Of course, if a problem is a serious one that should be taken care of immediately, we'll make a special visit. No one expects you to wait until the next scheduled visit if you have yellow jackets buzzing around in a day room.

In addition to checking log books, the IPM technician will perform inspections, check pheromone traps, and make notes of problems that need to be addressed by the facility's maintenance or housekeeping departments. For example, the technician will advise about things like missing door sweeps, damaged window screens, loose dryer vents, and other problems that make the building more susceptible to pest problems.

 

In short, the goal of IPM is an elder-care setting is to make the place as pest-proof as possible using non-chemical methods, in order to reduce or eliminate the need for chemical pesticides. If this sounds like the kind of pest management you've been looking for, please contact us for more information. Our service area includes Dayton, Springfield, Northern Cincinnati, and all of the Miami Valley. We look forward to hearing from you.