A May 2019 report outlines the details of a food safety issue at Advanced Health Care of Scottsdale..
The report states that the nursing home failed to “procure food from sources approved or considered satisfactory and store, prepare, distribute and serve food in accordance with professional standards.” (F 0812)
According to the report, staff failed to remove expired food from the resident kitchen area despite procedures in place to regularly check for and discard expired food and a policy on food storage and date marking which states that stock is to be rotating to ensure freshness.
Staff claimed that the error probably occurred because the two containers of expired lemon-flavored honey consistency water were mixed in with the bin of regular food when pulled from storage.
Fortunately, this incident didn’t cause actual harm to residents, but the nursing home should make extra efforts to ensure that they rotate and organize stock properly and clearly label dates per the policy on Food Storage and Date Marking.
People Over 65 Face Higher Risks of Contracting Foodborne Illness
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) identifies two key categories of people who are at a higher risk for foodborne illnesses: people over the age of 65, and people with compromised immune systems.
Older populations generally do get sick more easily because they tend to have weaker immune systems, both naturally and as exacerbated by specific illnesses. They are much more likely than (most) other populations to be hospitalized and even die from illnesses like Salmonella, Listeria and E.Coli.
Factors that can make older adults more susceptible to foodborne illnesses:
● Food takes longer to digest
● The liver and kidney aren’t as efficient
● The stomach does not produce as much acid
● If they have Diabetes
● If they have liver or kidney disease (dialysis)
● If they have recently undergone cancer and had chemotherapy / radiation
● If they are taking certain medications which can compromise immune system
● If they suffer from specific autoimmune diseases
● If they are transplant recipients
Food Safety Problems are all too Common in US Nursing Homes
In this particular report, the situation in question posed a relatively low risk to residents. But food safety is generally an under-reported facet of nursing home neglect.
Here’s some data we do have — but bear in mind this is likely just a fraction of the real numbers (from the Nursing Home Abuse Center):
● Food safety is the third most common violation in nursing homes
● There were 230 foodborne illness outbreaks in nursing homes from 1998-2017
● One of the largest (for profit) nursing home chains had food safety citations in almost half of its 400 locations
Examples of citations range from vermin and pests, mishandling of raw meat, lack of cleanliness, and lack of proper food safety (eg: around handling of raw meat).
It is thought that food safety issues are more common in nursing home facilities than other institutions including schools and jails.
A Lack of Food Safety Points to Potential Neglect
Nursing home neglect is any action that fails to offer the goods and services necessary to prevent physical or emotional harm.
Food safety is a real concern and a lack thereof poses serious health risks to residents. Even smaller incidents may be linked to neglect in this form or others.
Our elderly population is at risk of many diseases and illnesses, and nursing homes must meet stringent standards to keep them safe. Any breach in compliance is cause for concern.
Speak With a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
If you’re seeking compensation or legal advice for an incident at an Arizona nursing home, we can help.
Our trusted team can advise you on the next steps and ensure that your loved one, and others, have the care they deserve.
For more information, schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.