Whether you manage a hospital, urgent care center, extended stay center, or other type of medical facility, a top priority is keeping your patients safe and cared for. One aspect of patient care that often goes unnoticed is the need to protect these sensitive populations from pests. Pests such as insects and rodents can not only frighten patients, but they also present a threat to sanitation and health. Ensuring that your medical facility remains pest free is critical for maintaining equipment, rooms, and supplies that are free from contamination and bacteria.
Preventive Pest Control for Healthcare Facilities
Consider these points and how they may help with preventive commercial pest control in your healthcare facility:
Pests need food and water to survive. If these are not easily accessible on your property, then there will be nothing to attract them. The cleaner your healthcare facility is, the less likely it is that pests will be attracted in. If your facility does not already have a written sanitation plan, this is an important place to begin. Include regular cleaning schedules, responsible parties, cleaning procedures, and regular inspections of sensitive areas.
Sealing off cracks in doors, windows, rooflines, and exterior walls is critical for keeping pests at bay since rodents and insects can sneak in through the tiniest of cracks. Work to protect your healthcare facility by installing weather stripping to seal up gaps. This not only limits entry points for pests, but works to keep out dampness that can also be a draw for certain insects.
In addition to looking for physical cracks as entry points in your building, consider other ways that pests might be able to enter the premises. For instance, deliveries may be coming in through docks or other doors that remain open when not in use, inviting pests inside. Garbage cans that are kept close to buildings may be attracting rodents and insects. Leaky plumbing areas may be providing a source of moisture that attracts insects such as cockroaches. Untidy eating areas may be offering a tasty food source for pests. Take a look at your facility through the eyes of different pests and then create procedures that act as barriers for them.
Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance
Having bushes, trees, and other plants near your building acts as an invitation for crawling pests to come inside. Vegetation can act as a bridge for pests to get in, as well as camouflage so that they aren’t seen trying to enter. A gravel strip around the perimeter of your building (30 inches is ideal) works to discourage crawling pests, especially rodents, from coming near your building. Crawling insects, such as cockroaches and ants, have trouble navigating the uneven surface of gravel and are discouraged from entering.
It may also be a good idea to replace your fluorescent outdoor light bulbs with the sodium vapor variety that is much less likely to attract insects. If using fluorescent light bulbs in areas such as parking lots, they should be kept at least 300 feet away from your building.
A vital part of your commercial pest control plan is teaching your employees how to follow simple preventive plans. Some training may be as simple as creating new habits in employees, such as closing dock doors when not in use or washing dishes in the breakroom immediately after use. Other education might include training employees to keep an eye out for signs of infestation, in addition to creating a reporting system.
Ongoing Commercial Pest Control Service
Developing a relationship with a commercial exterminator allows you the peace of mind that your property is being well taken care of. An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program through a commercial pest control service helps your organization to maintain a healthy environment while solving pest control problems. This type of service works to minimize pest problems before chemical pesticides are needed. Schedule a commercial pest inspection for your healthcare facility to get more information and begin controlling pests.