Bed Bugs

Nurses Safety


I have a question, and no one can seem to answer it, or even give me an answer. First off, I'm not technally a nurse, I am a CNA. I work in the Home Health Care Field, and I do love my job. my problem is that my client has bed bugs, and the home office really doesnt seem to care. I terrified for my client and myself. I want to refuse to go back until the issue is resolved, but I know that they will fire me for doing so. I know that there are laws to protect workers from this sort of thing, but I am at a total loss as to what I am to do. If I somehow bring one of these things home with, Ill be living on the street. Please help. Thank you.

Specializes in ER, ICU.

A quick google shows that a single bedbug that hides in your clothing can bring it home. You would need to be hypervigilent when you leave the client's home. Maybe your agency would spring for a plastic hazmat suit, you can find a basic one for $12. Better yet buy it yourself, just make sure they would let you wear it. You should call your state BON and see if they have any guidelines. If not, research worker's rights or other state resources. Good luck.


Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

I take a whole different aproach to this; instead of worrying about yourself what about this poor women?

Call your local health department. If your client is unable to get rid of them they may be able to point you in the right direction. Is it being documented in the progress notes? If not do it; perhaps then your facility may take appropriate action and treat the whole person as nursing is suppose to do. Alteration in mentation due to bug infestation and potential for parasitic disease or potential for skin break down and secondary infection due to bed bug bites existing........get the message.

Did you know that bed bugs can cause cardiac concerns and a whole host of other things. The lady needs someone to be an advocate for her.

Advocate for her but for yourself, and your family, too. Someone has to come in and clean the whole house, and I believe buy a new mattress and/ or furniture depending on the infestation or at least get rid of the infested furniture. The least your agency could do would be to provide a suit. :eek: Yes, advocate for the patient but stopping the spread is equally, if not more important.:twocents::sofahider

Specializes in pediatric and geriatric.

I was actually bitten by bedbugs at a home care case. The agency pulled all nurses until the client had the exterminator out to verify the bugs were gone and when I went back to the case the client was not happy with me. She said so I hear you reported us about bedbugs. That was my last shift there, not worth the itchy rash I got.

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty.

Priscilla - when you say your home office isn't interested in the patient's bed bug problem, who did you report it to? I ask this because bed bug infestations are a Public Health problem, not only a patient-caregiver problem. If you've got a DON there- talk to her about it. A google search for Adult Protective Services/ bed bugs reveals just how nasty this is becoming. Your client is being bitten most likely every night so it's an individual health problem, too. If the home office balks at an APS intervention, provide with the links below(from Cali and Maine but all are similar), wait until they throw up a few times - and perhaps will agree with the seriousness of the issue. Above the links I just pasted in a few tidbits guaranteed to skeeve out even the most hardened tummies.

Bed bugs feed on humans, usually at night when they are asleep. They feed by piercing the skin with their elongated mouthparts, which consist of two stylets that normally fold under their body when at rest but fully extend during blood-meal feeding. One stylet has a groove that carries saliva into the wound, while the other has a groove through which body fluids from the host are taken in.

In addition to the direct injury to humans, bed bugs have stink glands that leave odors. They also leave unsightly fecal spots on bed sheets and around their hiding places. These spots are darkish red in color, roughly round, and can be very small.

California fights bed bugs: good news from the golden state â€" Got bed bugs?

I agree with these posters - many issues here. A good friend of mine had bedbugs in her home and she was able to get rid of them without chemical extermination which is INCREDIBLY expensive. She did have throw away her mattresses. She also bought a steam genie-shark whatever you call the thing that produces steam. Steam cleaning kills the bedbugs and she used it all over her house everywhere. By doing these things she was able to get rid of the infestation.


Your story sent shivers down my spine. There has been a huge bed bug problem here in NYC. They have found them in retail stores, name it. There are dogs trained to sniff them out and the process of getting rid of them costs a lot of money and time. For your patient's benefit and yours, you should report this immediately to your health department. If your place of work retaliates on you for reporting, they have a major lawsuit waiting for them. All it takes is one bug to ride home with you and it will surely cause a bad domino effect. Wish you the best!

This bed bug issue , just freaks me out!! My folks, in the 40's- lived in an old apartment when my Dad was in the Navy and it had bed bugs. That was the 40's and sometime along the way , one didn't hear of them much anymore, so I am hoping they can be gone again real soon!!! I also wonder,.. Is anyone seeing them in Long Term homes yet? ( Nurisng homes) If you are, what is being done about them?

Specializes in acute care med/surg, LTC, orthopedics.

The LTC facility I worked at had a scabies infestation which took an incredibly long time to get rid of. All residents were treated prophylactically with Permethrin (staff had the choice) and all bedding, clothing etc had to be decontaminated, it really brought the operational aspects of the facility to a screeching halt. One fellow who had been sent to hospital before the differential diagnosis spread it over there. It really did a number on many of the immuno-compromised residents, particularly one lady who, although had a bunch of co-morbidities, I'm convinced died from it.

Bed bugs are extremely difficult to get rid of, even when exterminators are called in, because they are resistant to so much now. It probably isn't an option for your client, but I'd tell her to find a new place to live and not to bring any old furniture to the new place. And thoroughly wash/hot(hot hot!!) dry any clothing/cloth items. With winter coming, leaving things to freeze for a couple weeks also kills the lil suckers.

Good thing for you though, they generally do not travel on your person (or pet, for that matter) and they really do tend to only come out at night. Leave any purses/bags in your car, or at least be sure not to set them on the floor (good advice for staying in hotels too - better yet, keep your bags in the tub). If you are worried about it, wear some PPE, maybe just the gown or such, if you are going to be sitting down. If it makes you feel any better, a good friend had a very nasty infestation that we didn't know about for some time; me and several other friends were at her house many times and never brought one back with us.

Other tips for your client until she gets some help in getting rid of the things:

- Freeze any books/paper items (heck, put the furniture outside and freeze that too for a while!)

- Double sided tape around the bed and around any areas your client thinks they might be hiding

- Place the feet of the head & foot boards/bed stand in small dishes of water so the buggers can't climb up (won't help if they are already in the bed, however...

- Grab a flashlight, wait for them to come out at night, and have a bug-smooshing party! :p

Hope you find some help for her!

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