Employee says a Brunswick County nursing home is infested with bed bugs

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Submitted: Fri, 08/02/2013 - 9:17pm
Updated: Sat, 08/03/2013 - 12:50pm

WINNABOW, NC (WWAY) – One nursing home employee says the facility in Brunswick County is not doing enough to fix a bed bug problem.

“They pulled the sheet back and you could see them crawling all over there fat ones, small ones,” said the employee that wishes to remain anonymous.

Bed bugs, probably one of the nastiest infestations you could have. One employee at Brunswick Cove Living Center says the facility has a big problem with the critters.

“I started taking insecticide to work hoping that if it keeps mosquitoes off, maybe it will help keep them off too,” she said.

Having to resort to those measures has her worried about the residents, especially for those living in the rest-home section of the building.

“They would not live like that if they were able. They should not have to live like that because they are not able,” she said.

Not able to get away from the bed bugs as easily as she can.

“You have people well I’m itchy or you see the red spots on them,” she said.

Brunswick Cove staff refused to go on camera with us but they did issue this statement in response to the allegations.

The statement reads: “We at Brunswick Cove have had a few isolated incidents with bed bugs over the last couple of years affecting four different rooms. This is a problem that is becoming common in nursing homes, adult care homes, hospitals, and hotels. We are a business that has many people coming in and out to visit and as a result are vulnerable to these types of issues. We have a protocol for dealing with these issues aggressively as they arise. This includes a contract with a reputable professional exterminating company that treats any room with confirmed bedbugs twice. As part of our treatment we also treat the adjacent rooms. This protocol has proven to be effective. We are committed to the safety and welfare of our residents and will continue to monitor this process closely.”

“I really thought what they were doing was working,” the employee said.

But judging by what she sees every day, she says it’s not.

The nursing home says they had an exterminator come out today to treat one infested room.


  • Guest2121 says:

    If you’re referring to a stand up lift, residents are suppose to be able to lift 23% of their body weight. Some residents refuse to lift themselves which is why this incident probably occurred. If your grandfather had fallen, its not the CNAs that had caused this, its the physical therapy department that you should be calling on blast since its their job to decide what machine to use on him. If he can’t at least do 23%, then he needs to be a hoyer lift.

  • Guest2020 says:

    It is truly sad how little some nursing home employees care about the helpless. My grandfather was being moved between his bed and wheelchair by employees using one of those slings to help. He fell and it was a full 24 hours before they took him to the hospital. It really tears me up when I think about him laying in pain with a broken shoulder for all that time with no relief. If you don’t care about the people you are serving, then you need to be in a different line of work.

  • Itchy Magoo says:

    Thanks a lot everyone. Now I’M itching. . . .

  • Njemile says:

    Take him home if your not pleased with nursing facility its that simple

  • Jim Riche says:

    Well aren’t you the one to call the kettle black? If this employee is “unprofessional” for mentioning an issue with (I am am assuming by the way you address this issue like you are the director or DON or somehow involved on the paycheck side of the facility) then what does that does that make you for so easily throwing other facilities under the bus? Shouldn’t you be more concerned about your patients? Won’t the facilities reputation speak for itself? Hmmm either that or you will right?

  • Guest55555333 says:

    Look I’m sure things are being taking care of properly and promptly! Issues like this get blown out of proportion! Of course no one wants this to happen! But just like the flu bug or mrsa, etc things happen and I AM POSITIVE anyone that would care enough to own a nursing, assisted living, retirement facility would NOT allow residents to suffer! For such reasons as this women going out and taking upon herself to announce it that there is an ” infestation”. Also, why haven’t families come forward or if she was a true professional why didn’t she take proper steps and contact the correct people instead of a news station? Sounds a little unprofessional and a bit childish to me. I think people don’t leave because in today’s economy trying to find a job that pays a great deal of your benefits, holiday hours, Paid time off, etc is hard to find and they don’t want to leave that. Most places don’t offer that anymore so they should feel pretty lucky. Plus if they tell you it’s being taking care of then its not your job to question that. Some things take time and although I have no experience with bed bugs Im sure they don’t go away overnight! Management does not need to communicate every detail with employees at all times. This was very inappropriate in my opinion. I think every nursing/skilled/assisted or retirement living facility have had some type of issue and have all had disgruntled employees. Just not all have had ones that feel they need to blab it to the public in this case it’s kind of embarrassing since it is and has been addressed. Unlike places such as Plantation Village that is infested with mold that is ignored or the nursing home downtown on 16th st that had issues of neglect. Now that is major issues!

  • Sally smith says:

    That place is infested with roaches. They crawl on the residents and be all on the beds and in their clothes. The place is a dump and paying residents should not have to live that way!!!! Someone needs to step in and look out for our elder people!!!

  • RMG says:

    While most comments here cover the issue well, I wish WWAY would actually read the story. Some sentences literally make no sense.

  • Nofaithnlaw says:

    Brunswick Cove’s administrative staff will do anything & say anything to cover up their lack of responsibility to ensure that the residents are treated with dignity & taken care of…I have experienced this first hand! I hope that the employee that came forward does not reveal their name & that they trusted no one in that facility to share this with. If they did they will be terminated. Experienced that first hand as well!!!! Maybe the State will get off their ass & go do something to take care of this place!

  • concerns says:

    Sounds to me like you work for nursing home in question. Sounds like threats to employees for coming forward. The person did the right thing. Regardless of how good their job is they they put the patients first. Employees should be kept informed till problem is corrected. So they Dont risk infesting their home!

  • windy says:

    Who knows what kind of chemicals the employees are bringing into the facility while taking matters into their own hands. Perhaps OSHA and the Health Dept need to investigate and put a stop to this activity before it results in lost lives or injury! And let’s not forget the bottom line … if the administration of Brunswick Cove took appropriate action to rectify this infestation in a timely and appropriate fashion, then the employees would not find it necessary to bring in their own insecticides in the first place.

  • A nursing home employee using insecticides while at work? What an unwise and potentially dangerous activity. The management should educate employees, ensure that their bed bug problem is properly abated, and prevent any employee from engaging in unwise (and possibly illegal) actions.

  • droppy says:

    … are you aware that many months ago, the facility disposed of all the furniture and carpeting, etc. in the resident’s ‘library’ (aka, sitting room) due to the infestation? The problem is, they have done a half-baked piecemeal job of cleaning, which of course means the root of the problem is never eradicated. As long as they do ‘something,’ albeit as ridiculous and ineffective as that thing may be, administrative can continue using the ‘we’re working on it’ excuse. And clearly, the bugs themselves are smarter than Zachary Miller and his administrative cohorts.

  • Employee says:

    Im sorry I didn’t have time to repaint my toenails because I was busy moving patients & their belongings from room to room & comforting those who were itching & uncomfortable due to the bed bug bites. I paid more attention to getting help about this infestation because I empathized with what the patients were going though, than I did thinking that my polish was chipping. I am sure that the staff there who is “working on the problem”, has perfectly manicured hands and feet while the residents are lying in the bed being consumed by blood-sucking parasites. Oh how inconsiderate of me to decide to go ahead and do the report without taking the time to polish my toes because I didn’t want any more time to pass without the pressure for Brunswick Cove to do something about this problem. Oh & yes the news is the appropriate place because I have went through the proper chain of command. I discussed this with the Owner, Administrator, as well as the DON & No aggressive steps was being done to alleviate this problem. Oh forgive me, but I care more about the residents there than I do about how people feel about me going to the news. Lets all remember that WE may be residents one day, or that Our family members may be patients one day. & If something is going on that a staff member feels is wrong, I pray that they will have the decency to do something about it or speak up about it. As caregivers and as a human, my loyalty is to the patients that I take care of that can’t take care of themselves, my loyalty is not to Brunswick Cove. Right is right & wrong is wrong. & Your question is. why would I still work there? Because contrary to most beliefs there are some caregivers who are there to work for more than a paycheck. I do care about the people that I take care of. So you are saying that my answer should have been, they have bed bugs, Ill turn my back and just go to another job while the residents continue to suffer. Is that the proper thing to do??

  • frmr empl says:

    As a former employee, that only left Brunswick Cove to relocate, I can say that most of the staff there cares very much for these residents, going way above and beyond for them. There are many former/ current employees, residents and family members who have had a positive experience at this facility.

    The staff who are only there to socialize and collect a paycheck are not there long then get bitter when they are disciplined or fired. These same people would do anything to “get back” at the supervisors/ administration because their laziness is no longer tolerated.

    This childish back and forth about bad pedicures and name calling is in such poor taste and makes the lack of upbringing evident. If you actually do care about these residents, act your age, close your mouths and take care of them. (By the way, bed bugs are everywhere. They are not a result of being dirty. Maybe do your homework next time.)

  • gb2 says:

    I have visited this nursing home and have found it to be very clean..the staff has always been friendly to me and my family. I have been there at different times of the day and night and have never noticed any problems with bugs or heard any complaints. Sounds to me like you have a disgruntled employee who decided to take out her unhappiness on the owner without regard to how it will affect her fellow employees. There are many avenues to take if you really feel that long term care residents are not being cared for and the news is not one of them. there are state agencies that can investigate and assess fines and penalites if a facility does not care for their residents or buildings in the proper manner. sounds like someone needs to find a new job….why would you stay someplace that you have to take bug spray to work?? go work someplace else and put them on TV when you get unhappy with them! oh and could you please fix your nailpolish??? you don’t even take care of yourself and you say you really care about taking care of others?? lol!!

  • Guest56 says:

    First of all, you apparently have no education on bed bugs. Cleanliness has nothing to do with bed bugs that cannot be seen to the average person visiting. I for one am glad that someone has the courage to speak out about this because the residents deserve to not attacked by insects in their sleep. Someone can clean their house spotless & still have an infestation of bed bugs, so think before you speak. How would you feel lying in a bed helpless & having insects biting on you all night, waking with red bumps, itching, & can’t even tell anyone? Or your mother lying there… Oh& nail polish has nothing to do with someone being clean.. You sound stupid, you pay more attention to nail polish rather than the fact that residents are being bitten by bed bugs… Tell someone to go tear a peice of the wall in Brunswick cove’s library. Then tell me what u find.. The proof is in the pudding.

  • windy says:

    The news IS indeed a way for this employee to express her concerns. This is something the public needs to be aware of, before they send their loved ones to a nursing home. True, her lack of nail polish maintenance and grooming has much to be desired. And despite her unwillingness to go on camera, any employee of the nursing home will undoubtedly be able to recognize her and she’s probably already been terminated. But anyway I digress. Taking this story to the media was well within this individual’s rights and provided the public with some useful knowledge about the facility. The end.

  • droppy says:

    Your statement is absolutely correct. Any employee that has ever spoken out for what is right, or advocated on behalf of the residents, has found themselves fired immediately. The administration always has and will continue to support those employees that are as crooked as the owners … those who participate in the lies, the coverups, the criminal activity …. and turn a blind eye toward the suffering the residents experience.

  • Guest89756 says:

    Say one thing in a statement, yet the “Owners” say another to the employees …..fear of becoming unemployed prevents more employees from coming forward. That is one Nursing Home that uses ALOT of “intimidation” with employees.

  • Vog46 says:

    Taking matters into their own hands is exactly what OSHA does NOT want people to do. Let employees complain and document the complaints then call the Health department.
    What you have there is a nuisance problem (albeit a BIG nuisance)

    OSHA wouldn’t be bothered by that type of complaint


  • Guest2020 says:

    I wish there had been someone like you taking care of my grandfather when he was in the nursing home. I am thankful that he is in a better place now.

  • concerns says:

    You did the right thing! The negative feed back sounds like it is coming from the higher ups at the nursing home.

  • Guest2012 says:

    This is not the first time Brunswick Cove has been infested with bed bugs. Instead of spending the money to properly exterminate these bugs, they just move residents from room to room and its apparently not working. I also was an employee there and I have seen residents with bite marks all over their arms when we tell the owner all he says is “We are working on it”. The bed bugs are literally in the walls and they are transporting from one area to the next. Their statement that it is only 4 rooms is an absolute lie. Someone needs to go in and investigate this place and not just take their word because the residents there are really suffering. Its not fair that they should be exposed to these type of living conditions. Several employees have also infested their homes due to this facility. The residents are constantly itching and complaining. This has been going on for about 8 months now and the problem is getting worse. The entire rest home area is under quarantine as we speak & residents cant even enjoy activities because their library is full of bed bugs and the churches wont come. If anyone cares about these resident’s welfare they will do something to help and soon. I am glad that people are finally finding out about this

  • Guest123 says:

    Wow, what a way for these bed ridden elderly patients to have to spend their days. Lying in beds unable to get up while bugs eat away on their flesh. They deserve more respect and care then this. As a visitor to this place I find it has way to many patients for the limited staff. People crying for help while ignored, others lying in their own waste. the smell in there is usually disgusting. I am so glad that the bed bug infestation will get people looking into this place. I feel sad every time I go there that people have to spend their later part of life being ignored and helpless.

  • Guest705 says:

    This spokesperson needs to put herself in the patients place. As far as I’m concerned it is a problem if its ever happened a second time. Maybe the spokes person shouldn’t put a patient in that bed if she isn’t willing to spend the night in it. Imagine being too ill to get up and get away from those bugs.

  • Boris says:

    Right down the road from that place there’s a billboard paid for by the Brunswick County Democratic Party that says “When Democrats Win, Everybody Wins.”

  • windy says:

    Brunswick Cove has a long history of patient neglect when it comes to patients who cannot speak up for themselves. How is treating just ‘one room’ or having the exterminator ‘come out twice’ going to solve the problem? Do the patients in that one room NEVER come out of their room to eat meals or participate in activities? Clearly THE ENTIRE FACILITY needs to be treated, especially if the facility spokesperson is implying that visitors are bringing the bedbugs in. And if that is the case, why are they not limiting visitors until the problem is eradicated? Employees bringing in their own insecticides is another issue that can result in huge fines should a patient be harmed or the facility not have any MSDS on file for these mystery chemicals. Furthermore why is no one from Brunswick Cove willing to go on camera to defend themselves, unless they are trying to hide something????

  • -A says:

    …report on something useful like how the nurses and staff there work day and night to accomplish a common goal, taking care of the residents. No one see’s how much a nursing home actually does behind the scene.

  • windy says:

    Yes, there SHOULD be a story about all that goes on ‘behind the scenes’ at Brunswick Cove. Perhaps then the public will be informed about how the majority of staff have lengthy criminal backgrounds, drug addictions, histories of abuse and neglect, you name it. How about staff that routinely steal from residents and then when the residents complain, administration does nothing to investigate as they are required to by state law. How about staff that continually berate residents verbally to the point where they are AFRAID to speak up and complain. This place has been bad for years. Administration’s response to everything is ‘we are working on it.’ Well maybe they need to work harder.

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