A guest at Larga Edmonton says she was made to feel responsible for bed bugs discovered in her room, but the president of the boarding home says no blame was assigned.
The guest, who requested anonymity, told Nunavut News that she found two bed bugs crawling on her during her Sept. 1 stay at Larga Edmonton – a medical travel boarding home commonly used by medical travel patients from the Kitikmeot.
“They were like, oh, disgusting! It was gross,” she said of the parasites, adding that she also noticed another bug under the bed and one on her sister’s sweater.
She said the manager on site took quick action, but the guest also said she was told the bed bugs were her fault because she either brought them back from the hospital or from a thrift store where she went shopping in the city.
“I really feel blamed,” she said. “It’s just very, very frustrating.”
She added that she was advised not to talk about the discovery of the tiny insects at Larga.
Casey Adlem, president of Larga Edmonton, denied that the guest was told she was responsible for the problem and instructed to keep quiet about the bed bugs.
“There is no truth to the allegations,” Adlem said.
Adlem readily acknowledged the presence of bed bugs at the facility, but she said they were limited to one room. That room, along with the guest’s belongings, was sealed and heat treatment took place on the morning of Sept. 2 to kill the insects.
Neighbouring rooms in the 56-bed facility were checked for bed bug activity but none was found, said Adlem.
The only complaint received was from the individual in that room, she noted.
The guest was moved to a hotel in the city and she said she felt welcome there.
“They are very respectable people. I was allowed to do laundry as soon as I got there,” she said of the hotel staff. “I didn’t go into the hotel until we were completely debugged. We waited for our laundry to be cleaned and showered down.”
The woman said she was worried about bringing the parasites back home with her. Her items left in the Larga room that was heat treated, she made sure to wash twice upon getting them home, she said.
“I know they’re hard to kill off,” she said of bed bugs. “I don’t know how long it takes for a (bed bug) egg to hatch, but we’re waiting for that. I have to keep checking to see if my sister and I have bed bug bites, but nothing so far.”
Adlem said there’s no need for compensation because “there is no damage to any guests’ belongings.”
Nunavut News asked the Department of Health on Sept. 4 how many guests had complained about bed bugs and whether the GN sends inspectors to boarding homes to check on conditions but there was no response as of Sept. 18 despite numerous reminders.