What happens when bed bugs come home from work?

by nobugsonme on May 28, 2011 · 6 comments

in bed bug treatment, bed bugs, bed bugs in the workplace

Joceylyn Perkins, a nurse, claims to have gotten bed bugs in the course of her work taking care of patients at a retirement home in Richmond, Virginia. She wants her employer to help cover the costs of eliminating bed bugs in her home. However, as NBC 12 notes, “bed bugs are not covered” by Virginia Workers’ Compensation Law.

If it isn’t embedded above, you can watch the NBC 12 report on NBC 12’s site.

NBC notes that

Jocelyn wants to hear from others in the health care profession. She’s circulating a petition among health care providers who want to start [a] dialogue which they hope will result in more disclosure and changes in Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Act.

Unfortunately, as bed bugs spread, many people are likely taking them home from work (just as others are bringing them into work). If bed bugs are known to be in the workplace, or if the job involves visiting sites which may be infested, then steps can be taken to lessen the likelihood of people getting bedbugs while doing their jobs.

These steps might include offering staff an XL Ziploc bag and encouraging them to stow purses or briefcases sealed inside it while in a potentially infested or known-to-be-infested environment. Another possibility might include providing a Packtite for employee use at work or home, to kill bed bugs in clothing or other exposed items.

Sadly, once bed bugs do come home, they are very expensive and difficult to get rid of. If employees have to pay for treatment and cannot afford it, it may become a persistent infestation — which means the workplace or clients are at risk of reinfestation even after they eliminate their bed bug problems.

Stopping the bed bug infestation and reinfestation cycle requires resources (time and money) and cooperation amongst everyone involved.

1 Carpathian Peasant May 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm

“The Word” in the 150+ unit retirement community under my feet is, “The bugs are under control.” Under control. I hear “The Word” when I mention the words “bed bugs” to the little old ladies in some of the units who, at that moment, have seen fit to go flying off to bingo in the basement or some such thing. See, we can go play like we’re supposed to do because the bugs are “under control.” And, if someone somehow got some (maybe from an aide worker) and is told to pack up all the dishes and blah, blah, blah, the gossip is, “Why she (or he) can’t do all that” and that’s all.

It’s not unreasonable for aide workers to organize to see about getting compensation for hazardous assignments, but how about organizing aide workers to help the little old lady (or gentleman) get rid of the bugs? It’s not unknown for the aide workers’ boss to tell the clients, “Get rid of the bugs or no aide worker,” i. e., if you have no other choice, drop dead.

Tell me about it. One of my weblogs has a “bed bug” category — numerous pages of ramblings about bed bugs in the old folks’ home. If anyone wants the web address (url), I’ll post it. (And, since we can’t edit these comments, if my little codings don’t produce a suitable effect, please ignore. I just wanted to include some emphasis if possible.)


Carpathian Peasant

2 nobugsonme May 28, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Hi CP,

Your formatting was wonderful.

I agree that assistance needs to be provided for those who can’t do their own prep. I am not sure whether home health aides should be the ones doing this or not. Indeed, I’d be curious to know if — some places– they already do.

Interested in the link, too. You can email me via the contact form or post it publicly if it would not upset the residents to have a lot of attention.

3 Carpathian Peasant May 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Okay, now that I’m a little more coherent here, let me clarify a couple of things:

1. I’ll send the link via contact form with a note later. I use local (unsecured) wireless and sometimes don’t have connectivity for days on end.

2. Where I am, and I assume possibly elsewhere because some of the companies have offices (franchise?) in more than one state, home care ranges from doctor’s visits to the lady who goes to get groceries for me. They are companies operating by contract either personally speaking or through state funded services (state contract). Something like nursing services may have at least two aspects (divisions), actual nursing and stuff that used to be done by what used to be calle nurses aides.

Since they are companies, they don’t have to take a job, not even if there’s a state contract.

For state funding there’s some kind of an agency (here that’s likly techncially a non-profit) that sends a caseworker for assessments before they authorize anything, especially money payments. A person does have to be low income, old and in need of the service — nothing else.

3. They are companies and they don’t have to take the job. If the lady in the article was “ordered” into a known situation and she wasn’t advised ahead of time, that doesn’t ring right with my way of thinking in itself.

4 Carpathian Peasant May 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Paragraph 1 of item 2 at the end is supposed to read: … and stuff that used to be done by what used to be called nurses aides.

5 nobugsonme May 30, 2011 at 6:01 pm

If the lady in the article was “ordered” into a known situation and she wasn’t advised ahead of time, that doesn’t ring right with my way of thinking in itself.

It doesn’t sound right, but it does sound like the way an employer might operate.

6 Mel June 18, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Workers compensation in Virginia does not cover bedbugs but would they cover a mental anguish claim. I’ve done pest control for years and without a doubt I’ve seen the physical rashes as well as the mental disturbances they cause. If the employer does not want to do the right thing, Maybe a civil suit against her employer along along with an alternate worker compensation claim is in order.

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