I am on the staff advisory committee at work - for a very large mental health department. I had a meeting today where I was going to discuss these concerns but my F-ING CAR DIED on the way. So I am at home with my car at the shop down the street, typing up what I wanted to bring up. Do you think this sounds OK? I am working on the final paragraph.
I am going to add some links from other facilities that have protocols in place:
The resurgence of bed bugs across the country has become a very real and serious issue for our clients at XXXXX. Every shelter in Los Angeles and many hotels, board & cares, apartments and other dwellings have been struggling with infestations which are almost impossible to eradicate. Our patients are suffering terribly. In one day last week, 6 out of the 12 patients I examined were actively dealing with infestations. One went to the emergency room with a serious rash due to the insecticides he is using in his apartment. Another patient presented with a rash all over her body due to bug bites and described how her 6 year-old brother would wake up screaming at night due to being bitten. A third patient, despite being young and vulnerable, now refuses any sort of shelter, preferring the streets to being ?eaten alive? and waking up to her sheets spotted with blood. Last, several of my patients have required increasing doses of antipsychotic medication to treat their increased paranoia and decompensation, directly related to bed bug infestation.
Given the extent of the bed bug epidemic, I think it would be helpful and prudent to issue an information bulletin for patients and staff to educate them regarding safety issues and protocols, specifically for staff working with clients who present with bed bugs to our outpatient facilities, for staff working in the field and for our patients.
Outpatient facilities: I have heard from several staff members that they are frightened to work with patients due infestation concerns and the possibility of infestations in the work place and resulting infestations in their own homes. Liability issues have been brought up several times in terms of no safety protocols or directives being in place and the emotional and monetary costs of bed bug infestation and treatment.
There are no current protocols for maintaining environmentally appropriate work spaces such as not using cloth-covered chairs in interview rooms, regular inspections for bugs, and treatment of areas/rooms if bugs are suspected.
Field Work: I do not believe there is any training for staff working in the field. Safety protocols such as not bringing bags or briefcases in to areas where there is a high-risk of infestation or placing them on the ground, not sitting on furniture, and inspecting XXX vehicles are examples of directives that should be provided and enforced.
Patient care: The bed bug epidemic in Los Angeles is severely impacting our patient?s lives. Within the clinic setting, they needed to be treated with compassion and educated, without making them feel as if they are at fault or need to be avoided at all costs.
In the past few months there have been several instances when clients who reported bed bug infestations (scabies is an issue here as well) have been denied treatment within the XXX facility until they are ?treated?. Some staff, due to lack of experience and education regarding bed bugs /scabies, will only see patients wearing rubber gloves despite no physical contact with clients. These types of behaviors are incredibly stigmatizing and make it more difficult for our patients to seek and receive mental health treatment.
I don't want to sound "hysterical" and FWIW, I have absolutely no power to do this on my own. It has to go through the department.
How should I finish it?