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Is it common for an Assisted-Living to keep cases of bedbugs a “secret “from family members or people wishing to visit?


My divorced parents live there, in separate rooms of course. I’ve been through this bedbug trauma with my dad three years ago at his home, it was a nightmare, he still has PTSD from it and I believe I do too. He currently is recovering from scabies which was a shock to me, and yes I know it is very common and so are bedbugs but I do believe people have a right to know that they’re crawling around there 😲😳


I have a young granddaughter that I take to visit there often and this is just freaking me out and makes me a bit angry.

I was in the hospitality business in Vegas and bed bugs were always a huge concern. We even have bed bug sniffing dogs to assist us in detecting them.

What follows is the unadulterated version of how hotels deal with them, and what you can do at home if you think you've been exposed to them.

During the period of 10 years I had 2 outbreaks. Fortunately at this time bed bugs do not carry any additional diseases with them, so other than for the inconvenience of dealing with the bites an infestation not live threatening. There is industry talk that bed bugs may carry other diseases in the future though, just not yet.

First off, bed bugs travel everywhere. They are in plane luggage compartments and of course hotels, often upscale ones too. As a matter of routine, housekeeping would check all beds between guests. Even then, they are quite clever, and iť's quite difficult to find an infestation.

They only feed at night, and not every night, in fact sometimes they can go a month without food. While they like to hide in beds and box springs, they most often crawl into the walls , especially into electrical outlets. They cannot crawl up metal based legs. If you're in a hotel use the metal based luggage racks to ensure your luggage is safe. Also note that many mattress frames are metal.... this is also because the bed bugs can't use them for access to the bed.

If you stayed in a hotel and got bitten how to know what type of bites are from bed bugs. In my experience they like children unfortunately. The bites can heal pretty quickly though. The bite marks will always be in a straight line, since bed bugs are pretty lazy.

What to do with your luggage when you get home? There's a bunch of choices here. Take every thing from the luggage and wash in hot water if you can. A hot drying cycle will also kill them. Another effective way is to take everything fabric and place it in a black plastic bag, and place it in the sun - seal the bag with duct tape. This includes luggage. The temperature in the bag should exceed 100 degrees for a period of 8 hours. If you're in a climate where this is not possible, you will have to use pesticides inside the bag instead. These are available from hospitality suppliers on line. You will need to leave the fabric items in the sealed bag until you receive the pesticides. Then leave the pesticides in the sealed bag for two weeks unopened. If there were any bugs in the luggage they will be dead. Btw you must leave iť for two weeks, because you need to kill the eggs as well. The pesticide is a special grade, so avoid trying to use others not designated for bed bugs.

In hotels we often dont have the two weeks available, so we have a company that comes in and heats the room to 100 degrees for 8 hours at a time.

Additionally, we always put on mattress and box spring covers that seal those items up and prevent re infestations.

In the end those bugs that came into a room on someone's luggage will cost a hotel approximately $1500 per room to get rid of not including the grief iť may cause to guests.
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Monica19815 Jun 2, 2019
That was excellent information in bed bugs! Explains perfectly why my husband and I travel in an RV and usually do not use hotels. We have to stay in a hotel one night for my daughter's wedding and I am anxious about bedbugs. Having worked for the city health department for some years, I do know to leave my luggage out in the hall and go in and inspect the room...the bed, mattress seams, behind curtains, pictures and mirrors if possible, along baseboards, etc. If I see any sign of bed bugs or their droppings, I will not stay in that room! It isn't foolproof but at least it is an effort to avoid rooming with them, lol.
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Infestations and infections like these would be much easier to handle if people's reactions to them were less emotional. It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem.

In terms of publicising individual cases, you're going to run into confidentiality. No one has a right to know that another person has scabies, any more than they've a right to know that they've got syphilis or cancer or diabetes. The facility instead should have a protocol for putting out an alert that does not identify sources.

More widely, the reason that an ALF would want the issue hushed up is that if word gets out that there's a bed bug infestation it will damage them. People will leave. New residents won't come. And those repercussions will go on for months whether or not there does turn out in fact to have been an infestation. So, obviously, it's not something they're going to put in their marketing material; and then the effort of hushing things up, and the social shame involved in being a suspected victim, make it infinitely more difficult to eradicate the problem. Daft, isn't it?

Expressions like 'shock' 'nightmare' 'crawling around' 'right to know' and of course the emojis are completely natural in the situation and I do sympathise, but they are also perfect examples of why the reaction can do almost more harm than problem. You are talking about eminently treatable infections and not especially threatening - though highly undesirable - mini beasts. Why be shocked? What nightmare? These things happen, probably through no one's especial fault, and the only important thing is to get rid of them.

Is there an infestation? If so, what do we need to do about it? Could everyone please calm down and let's work together to get this dealt with.

PS Keep your granddaughter off the bed. The bugs would think it was their birthday.
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Bella7 May 31, 2019
I do not need to know who has bed bugs or scabies.
I believe it’s fair to say that I have the right to know that they are there. They have no protocol, that’s just it. You don’t know this place.
Who’s going to pay for the treatment if I bring them home to my family?
Emotional? You bet I am. Been through this before with my dad when he was still in his home.
Shocked, nightmare, calm down, emojis, etc etc thanks for the criticism
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It is common for these 'homes' to try to hide anything negative. Call your local health department, office for aging services, and the county ombudsman. For residents to be subject to and invasion of parasites is a health risk. No matter where they come from and how they got there it is the obligation of the facility to get this taken care of asap.
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Bella, I am with you, I don't want to go visit and bring home a stray that will ruin my peace of mind and checkbook.

You can do some checking on your own to determine if either parent has uninvited guests in there rooms.

These beasties do not like light so they hide, but they leave little black spots as the crap their way to your loved one. Look at the sheets, any little black spots? Pull up the bedding and look at the mattress, is there black spots along the seams, any evidence in the seams of cloth chairs? Buy a cheap pair of white gloves and wipe the back of night stand, head board, furniture where they spend a lot of time. You will see evidence if they are there, then you can proceed to get evidence. Pictures of all indications that you find.

I would not say another word to the jackazz administration, I would call the health department and APS and ask them who else should be notified. Then complain until it is resolved.

My brothers kids had head lice that I had to deal with for almost a year, I finally shaved heads because the parents were so unconcerned that they were infested and would not do anything to eradicate the problem. They wouldn't even leave the pillows and toys that I treated in the sealed plastic bags for 2 weeks. So I understand having PTSD, I still pay attention when people around me scratch their heads. I spent countless hours cleaning, treating and combing hair with a micro comb to get eggs, not to mention the money. Send them home and the next visit, repeat. It is traumatic to see bugs that are tough little beasts.

This experience taught me how to protect myself and not bring home any unwanted guests.

When you leave the facility, change clothes and wash everything you were wearing right away, if that is not possible, store them in a sealed plastic bag. Bathe if possible. Do not take anything in with you that you will be setting down, like a purse, satchel, etc. You can bring a flat sheet to cover where you will be sitting, then put in a sealed plastic bag to transport home for washing. Spray imitation vanilla on you and grandchildren, it is a great repellent, I have used it for 30 years because I was a mosquito magnet, it really works. (I dilute mine with vodka so it dries quickly and doesn't leave a sticky residue) spray your body not your clothes. If you have long hair, wear it up.

These are methods that I have found to be very effective, we found out after a hotel stay at the grand canyon that the hotel got shut down for a bed bug problem, ewww, we had no problems because I use this protocol when going any place that has a higher than normal chance of having issues. I know I seem anul but the head lice trauma will never go away. I did not get them, but I had my best friend checking my head everyday because I felt crawly from the experience. I don't want to go through anything like that again.

One more thing, changing the bedding and keeping fabrics clean goes a long ways in prevention, vacuuming any cloth furniture, moving items to vacuum under, cleaning front, sides and back with a citrus based cleaner, deep cleaning basically.

Sorry I am so long winded, but this can be dealt with and you can protect yourself and your loved ones with a bit of precaution. I am rooting for you that the health department reacts quickly and this gets dealt with.
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whaleyf Jun 2, 2019
thank you for the "Spray imitation vanilla on you and grandchildren, it is a great repellent," tip. Since I do visit my former neighbors I'll start doing that.
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Good advice "IsThis".

Someone brought these little buggers in. Either a new resident or a member of the staff.

And don't think that the housekeeper is doing a good cleaning. Moms didn't even dust.

Mt daughter had a patient in rehab who had just got out of a prolonged hospital stay. Complained she had itched the whole time and still was. My daughter took one look at her and was sure it was scabbies. They burro under the skin. Demand that Dad be tested by his dr. He will be quarantined.
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whaleyf Jun 2, 2019
Dirt has nothing to do with bed bugs. My former apartment building (2 buildings six floors each, 36 apartments on each floor) has had an epidemic of bed bugs for the last three years. Still not cleared up. My former neighbor has very limited "stuff" in her apartment, the place (and her) are clean, and couldn't get any cleaner as she's OCD when it comes to cleaning. But she got them anyway. (pretty sure they came in from either another neighbor visiting or through the plugs in the wall from the one next door that had them.

When I left they were inspecting each apartment but quit half way through and told us that they would come in "if" you found you had a problem. Now they are heat treating the apartments with the bugs.

Of course they don't tell the world they have a problem or no one would move in. I'm just thankful I got out of there without bringing them with me. But people should know the "building" has a problem because it just might help you from bringing them home with you.
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The IL apt complex my mom lives in has had an issue with bedbugs twice in the last several years....management will NOT admit it or do anything about it, due to “privacy” issues. As several have stated, the management is not going to admit there is a problem even if its staring them in the face....my mom was hysterical for quite a while, almost drive me nuts each day when i called her. Some elders associate lice, bedbugs or scabies with uncleanliness or people being”dirty”. Not the case. Someone, be it resident or staff, had to introduce them in the building and unless the problem areas and rooms are treated properly, they will remain. I also have an issue with residents not being told, I understand about privacy issues, but residents should be made aware. I was going to call the local health dept and report the issue but the management finally got the bedbug problem under control. But....all it takes is for one new person that has them to move in and it starts all over again.....my take is be vigilant, take the necessary precautions in common areas and check your bedding etc My mom also uses essential oils to spray bedding etc weekly...best of luck in dealing with these issues.
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Scabies are reportable to the Health Department.
The problem with posting a note on a door, even if they did is many residents if not all of them would ignore such a warning. As to family, they could choose to gown and glove up if they wished but family would know if there is a problem in that particular room and families of one resident would probably rarely go to the room of another.
If there is a problem with bed bugs those should be reported as well. Even if the facility is "doing what they can" it is always a good idea to keep the Health Department in the loop. (The Local or County Health Department would be the one to call rather than the State. The Local or County would be able to respond faster)
I am sure that there are some things brought in by family or friends that wish to visit. How many people might be bringing in a Cold, Flu, communicable diseases like Chicken Pox, Measles, Whooping cough and a host of other problems.

Community living raises a host of problems. While a facility might be trying to solve issues if you notice a problem report it. If the Health Department is aware of it great, if not at least they know there is a problem that they can follow up on it. The more people that report the problem the better so do not assume someone has called.
Part of the problem getting rid of "critters" is it needs to be done in a safe manner using approved chemicals. So no person is harmed during the process. And the process can take a while.
Probably a good idea to ask the facility if they want you to take things home or leave them there to be treated, don't bring anything new in until the problem is solved.
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Scabies are not common and are serious. At my daughters rehab the person who had them had to be quarantined. Bed bugs are not common either. Someone is bringing them in. Call ur county health department and ask what is the periodical when Bed Bugs and Scabies are found in an AL.
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This is the way to check the bed —

Roll back the blankets snd sheets from any one one corner until you can see the mattress. Small black “dots” will be visible along the seams. These are left behind by the bedbugs and will be visible to the naked eye.
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No place wants to admit to having them.
Totally agree anyone entering has a right to know. Around here the Bd of Health has a task force that had meetings I would attend. They really don't perceive it as a huge health issue because although research continues, BB's are not known to spread disease the way other creatures can. They do cause itching and worse if scratching leads to sores etc and of course the emotional distress and loss of sleep and the huge cost to get rid of them
The amount of work it takes to even prepare a home to be treated...be it chemical or with heat is massive.
ANd sadly, they are out there and can happen ANYwhere and at ANYtime.
I know of a situation where an ill elder and spouse blocked off a room from the eyes of in-home help that I learned from the exterminating company looked like a crime scene due to blood from smacking the bugs that had eaten...one of those people had gone for an ambulance ride...and they were discovered on the patient there or at the hospital. In the end we determined the source was an adult child who had developmental problems and went to work in a sheltered environment during the day and came home on weekends for visits, living in a group home. The key to all is Education and Precautions.
My aunt in MI was moving from a private residence to AL. The AL had a company out to inspect her home prior to moving and continues to monitor the entire facility monthly.
As the BD of Health guys have told me...they can inspect a place and say all is well, and then a half hour later, someone walks in or drags an infested mattress through the lobby, into the elevator...and there you go.
In addition, it is so hard to prove, that the costs must be borne by those impacted...and the best methods, like heat (less toxic) are the most expensive...so you see people falling for these cheap do it yourself things and they will not have a complete resolution because eggs can still hatch.
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