Elderly Lives Matter®

Can Nursing Homes Be Held Accountable When Residents Suffer Food Poisoning?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2024 | Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Older adults generally move into nursing homes and other assisted living facilities because they can no longer safely manage all the requirements of daily life without support. They need someone else to make sure they take their medication on time. They may need someone else prevent to help them get dressed and clean themselves without injury.

They may also need assistance ensuring that they receive property nutrition. From balancing their diet to preparing meals, cooking is often outside of an older adult’s abilities. Nursing homes help older adults meet their basic nutritional needs by providing meal service for all residents. Unfortunately, issues with sanitation or low-quality food supplies might lead to residents becoming quite ill.

Foodborne illness is a common nursing home issue

Every year, hundreds of vulnerable older adults fall ill because of the food served to them at a nursing home or similar facility. Oftentimes, their maladies are preventable with better adherence to food safety rules. Research looking at 20 years of reported foodborne illness cases – and reported by NBC – at long-term care facilities paints a grim picture. Between 1998 and 2017, 7,648 residents became ill due to the food served at such facilities. 532 of those people had to seek care in the hospital, and 54 people died.

At least some of those cases involved residents in assisted living facilities who ate foods brought in by friends or family members. Therefore, the first step necessary when attempting to hold a facility accountable is to prove the contaminated food came from the nursing home. In many cases, outbreaks of illnesses can be tracked back to improper sanitation, a failure to meet food safety standards or using food that has already expired. Provided that the nursing home was negligent about how it managed its facilities, planned meals or sourced foods, it could be possible to take legal action after residents develop foodborne illnesses.

A lawsuit related to negligent nursing home care could compensate people for medical costs and other expenses directly related to contaminated food ingested in an assisted living facility. Connecting someone’s illness to on-site food preparation might be the first step in the pursuit of economic justice.

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