You need to consider quite a few factors before placing a loved one in a nursing home facility. While your primary concern may be nursing home abuse or neglect, do not overlook the safety and quality of the food that residents are receiving in these facilities. Although foodborne illnesses are a threat to any person, people over 65 tend to be more susceptible due to weakened immune systems, medical conditions, chronic diseases, and age-related changes in the digestive system, according to the Food & Drug Administration.
Food Safety Violations in Nursing Homes
Eating food that was prepared while neglecting regulations for safe food handling and preparation in a restaurant is not nearly as bad as being exposed to meals that were cooked by someone who ignores food safety standards every single day with no means to report health violations in the facility, and do something about it to improve the safety and quality of the food. Basically, nursing home residents are stuck. Luckily, those who still have someone to care for them – their children, grandchildren, friends, or relatives – can escape this vicious cycle. If you believe that your loved one got sick or developed a foodborne illness due to the nursing home staff’s failure to ensure sanitary conditions and adhere to food safety standards, contact a Lexington nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer to take legal action and recover compensation.
How Common are Food Safety Problems in Nursing Homes?
Last year, inspections by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services showed that unsafe food handling was the third most frequently cited violation in approximately 15,700 nursing homes across the United States. A separate report in 2018 showed that a third of all nursing homes in the U.S. were cited for violating the requirement to store, prepare, and serve food safely. Health inspections showed that residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities often receive unsafe food that can cause food poisoning, foodborne illnesses, and food-related diseases due to facilities’ failure to ensure sanitary conditions and take necessary precautions to prepare, store, and serve high-quality food free of any contaminants and bacteria. Some of the most common food-related health violations in nursing homes are:
- Rodent droppings in the kitchen;
- Dirty surfaces and unsanitary utensils;
- Using expired food items;
- Ill workers in the kitchen failing to protect residents from contracting contagious illnesses;
- Workers failing to practice proper hygiene;
- Workers not using hair nets or facial coverings; and
- Other types of violations.
Can You Sue the Nursing Home for Neglect?
These and many other food safety problems constitute neglect on the part of the nursing home and its staff. If you suspect that your parent or grandparent’s illness was the result of the nursing home’s failure to adhere to food safety standards, contact a Lexington nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer. Here at Roberts Law Office, our results-driven personal injury attorneys can help you file a complaint with the appropriate health department to obtain compensation for your loved one’s damages. Under Kentucky law, neglect refers to the caretaker’s failure to use the accepted degree of care. Failure to ensure sanitary conditions is not the only form of neglect in nursing homes, as failure to assist with personal hygiene, provide appropriate food, clothing, or shelter, offer adequate medical treatment, and address health and safety hazards are all forms of neglect. Call our offices at (859) 231-0202 if you have noticed signs of abuse or neglect in a Kentucky nursing home.