One of the critical duties of nursing home facilities is offering nutritious meals at appropriate times. While you should closely monitor your aging loved one for signs of dehydration and malnourishment, you should also be wary of food-related illnesses at the nursing home.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that individuals over the age of 65 have an increased risk of both hospitalization and death from food poisoning. This is partly due to the changes a body’s organs undergo as it ages. Unfortunately, nursing homes can be hotbeds for foodborne illness. Here are a few ways nursing home staff may put an elderly resident in danger.
Providing long-term care for sick and elderly residents is not cheap. While many nursing homes have a few revenue streams, administrators often look for ways to control costs. If someone at the facility buys and serves outdated or expired food, your loved one may become critically ill.
Because bacteria typically cause foodborne illness, kitchen workers must regularly sanitize food preparation areas and utensils. They must also take steps to prevent cross-contamination between meat, poultry, eggs and ready-to-eat foods. If the nursing home’s kitchen is not a clean space, your relative may develop nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting and other gastrointestinal problems.
At good nursing homes, kitchen staff and others receive extensive training on how to prevent food poisoning. Because many facilities have high staff turnover rates, new employees may not go through the training they need to keep your elderly loved one safe. Because the health and well-being of the residents are at stake, nursing home administrators must ensure only properly trained workers do food-related jobs.
If you suspect your loved one’s recent illness is due to food poisoning, you should probably investigate whether staff at the facility put the lives of the residents in danger.