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Authors

  1. Leininger-Hogan, Susan MSN, RN

Abstract

When even one bedbug is discovered in the intensive care unit (ICU), it becomes an environmental emergency for the hospital and may pose an economic threat, since rooms and other support space must be taken out of service to permit appropriate eradication of these unwanted pests. Furthermore, the presence of the pests can create a public relations nightmare for your facility when news headlines alarmingly announce, "bedbugs have been found in a local healthcare facility." Patients and their families, staff members, and others who visit the hospital suddenly feel threatened by these little pests that actually pose a minimal threat to most individuals other than their bites and the itching which accompanies them. Nurses must be prepared to identify skin conditions associated with bedbug bites and to promptly report any sightings within the ICU to environmental services. An integrated pest management program and vigilance of staff are vital elements for "damage control" related to a bedbug infestation.