Dear Caprisheus…

Last month we received the following message:

“Thanks for all you and the TRN staff do!! Could you feature an article about bed bugs and how units manage?”

First, thank you for this question! This is a common concern the Patient Services Department receives calls about from facility staff monthly. According to Wikipedia, “bed bugs are parasitic insects in the genus Cimex that feed exclusively on blood…”, and if you ever have had them or know someone who has, they are tough to get rid of. Regardless of being almost microscopic, they can have a lasting impact in the lives of their hosts.

The following articles share information about the psychological and physical aspects of bed bugs:

When the Network receives these calls, we try to offer support and educational resources for resolving them for the clinic, patients and their family members. Actions Steps and specific recommendations we typically offer are:

  • Follow your unit or company’s policy and procedures related to Infestations. Usually this requires patients to:
    1. Limit the number of items, such as bags or wearing wigs, which are brought to/from dialysis treatment.
    2. Utilize a change of clothing, either leave an outfit at the clinic or wear hospital scrubs if provided, that the patient can wear during the treatment.
    3. Place clothing brought with patient or worn to the clinic in a heating bag; which should kill any bed bugs on or within.
    4. Cover dialysis chair with plastics or other designated covers to prevent spreading to other patients, dialysis chairs, and equipment.
  • Work with the patient and/or family to resolve bug infestation at home or resident.
  • Set a timeline for home remedies and receive documentation or confirmation (receipts for fumigation or new mattress).
  • Post and share preventative tips and resources with other patients and staff, such as:Pulling back the sheets on the bed bug controversy article
  • Continue to monitor the situation to prevent further infestation to other patients or ongoing issues.