Bed Bug Protocol For Hospitals

Bed Bugs are a public health concern because they spread very quickly and easily from home to home, from apartment to apartment, and even from one hospital room to another. They can exist in infested furniture and luggage so they don’t need to live with the human host to survive. This makes it very hard for facilities to prevent them from spreading. Hospitals are at a heightened risk of bed bug infestations. In this video I offer a protocol that hospitals can follow and implement after a bed bug case has been identified. Are you an administrator at a hospital? I hope so, because this blog post will help you. You may have heard on the news that the number of bed bug infestations is growing. And it is – for a number of reasons. The good news is that hospitals are not immune to the growing patchwork of infestations across the country. But, given their environments (clean, sterile ones at that), hospitals have some distinct advantages when it comes to eliminating bed bugs from your facility.

Bed Bug Protocol For Hospitals


Bed bugs are a growing problem for hospitals. In order to prevent bed bugs from entering a hospital, medical professionals should be prepared to identify and treat potential bed bug infestations. This blog discusses the importance of prevention efforts, steps that need be taken if an infection is suspected, and the roles of all involved parties in the removal process.

Bed Bug Infestation

Bed bugs are insects that belong to the family Cimicidae. They are small, flat, oval, reddish-brown insects. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed. Bed bug eggs hatch in about six to 10 days and become nymphs by shedding their skins five times before reaching maturity — a process that takes about four weeks.

Bed bugs cannot survive or reproduce on their own and need to feed on blood from humans or other mammals to survive.

First Report

If you are unsure whether or not a bed bug has been spotted in the hospital and you are unsure what to do, please refer to our list of steps below:

  • Report it immediately.
  • Notify all relevant members of staff.
  • Use the correct terminology: “bed bugs” rather than “bedbugs.” Bed bugs is plural, so all reports should use this form.

Report to Capital Health

  • Contact your supervisor.
  • Notify the Department of Environmental Services.
  • Notify the Infection Prevention and Control Team.
  • Notify the Focused Environmental Services – Pest Control (FES-PC).
  • Let Health Information Management (HIM) know, as they will need to prepare for patients being discharged with bed bug bites. Also notify Public Relations, so they can alert media outlets if needed or necessary.

Reassure the patient and roommates.

The patient and their family will be concerned about having bed bugs, but you should reassure them that bed bugs do not transmit disease. Bed bugs are a nuisance, but are not a health hazard and do not indicate dirtiness or poor hygiene.

When a patient complains of bites or skin lesions associated with bed bug infestations in the hospital, inform the patient that there is no evidence to suggest that patients who have been exposed to bed bugs develop infections as a result of the exposure. If necessary, explain that this is because some people may be more susceptible than others to infection (e.g., immunocompromised individuals) and that certain types of infections require direct contact with an infected person/animal (e.g., Hepatitis C).

Isolate the room. Turn off the bed alarm system. Put a sign on the door. Do not vacuum the room.

Isolate the room. Turn off the bed alarm system. Put a sign on the door. Do not vacuum the room.

Contact the patient’s family, roommates and attending physician to explain what is happening and why you need to treat their loved one at home for an extended period of time (one to two weeks). They should be told not to enter the room during this time unless it’s absolutely necessary, as bed bugs are highly mobile and can spread easily through contact with clothing, luggage or other belongings that may have been left in or near their home during treatment.

If possible try to get permission from a patient who wishes to remain at home while undergoing therapy by providing them with a copy of this protocol so they can make informed decisions about how long they would like treatment carried out before returning back into hospital care if they’re still being treated there (and vice versa).

Remove all items from patient’s belongings (labels, medications, personal effects, linens etc…) and place in plastic bags. Do not remove linens until patient is moved. Place the belongings into a plastic bag that is labeled with date, time and initials of person who packed it and seal with tape to prevent room contamination. Clean up any spilled powders.

Removal of all items from patient’s belongings

LABELS, MEDICATIONS, PERSONAL EFFECTS AND LINENS. Remove the labels from all medications. Remove any medications that are not in plastic containers. If a patient is on multiple medications, place each set together in individual bags labeled with date and time as well as your initials. Remove personal effects such as jewelry, watches etc…

Clean up any spilled powders All areas where powders have been spilled should be cleaned and vacuumed thoroughly before leaving the room so there are no visible signs of powder contamination at all times.

Transport the belongings in sealed bag to a laundry cart outside the unit/department. Place in designated area away from other carts. Call Focused Environmental Services – Pest Control at 426-5681 or 1-800-213-1414 to inform them of intention to send linens for laundering and arrange for pick up. Do not move linens through Clinical Engineering area in South Park Street garage – use Highfield Street entrance at back of hospital instead.

  • Place the items in a labeled, sealed bag and place it in an area where they will not be disturbed.
  • Call Focused Environmental Services – Pest Control at 426-5681 or 1-800-213-1414 to inform them of your intention to send linens for laundering and arrange for pick up.

Do not transport linens through Clinical Engineering area in South Park Street garage – use Highfield Street entrance at back of hospital instead.


Bed bugs are one of the biggest challenges facing hospital facilities today. They are not only a nuisance but also difficult to eliminate once they get into your facility. This article was meant as an introduction to some basic information about bed bugs and how you can protect yourself from these pesky critters. We hope that it helps you keep your hospital safe for patients and staff alike!

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