nursing home resident being served a mealMany cases of food poisoning can be avoided with proper precautions. If a nursing home fails to follow food safety regulations and take reasonable steps to prevent foodborne illnesses, they may be liable for a nursing home resident’s food poisoning illness or death.

How Food Poisoning Happens in Nursing Homes

Those who work in nursing home kitchens should be properly trained to handle and prepare food safely. Additionally, nursing home staff that oversee a resident’s food intake should know how long food can safely sit out before it needs to be discarded.

Some of the common causes that may lead to food poisoning include: 

  • Unrefrigerated or unfrozen perishable foods
  • A broken thermometer in a refrigerator or freezer
  • Thawing food at room temperature
  • Failure to wash hands before preparing food
  • Failure to cook poultry, fish, and meat thoroughly
  • Improperly reheating food
  • Failure to sanitize/clean utensils, cutting boards, and other types of work surfaces where raw poultry and meat are prepared
  • Food left sitting in front of a resident for a long period of time

These mistakes may be caused by:

  • Nursing home understaffing. There may not be enough nursing home staff members to prepare or handle food safely. If the staff working in the kitchen, delivering food, or overseeing residents’ eating are spread too thin, they may make dangerous mistakes.
  • Lack of training. All food handlers, including people who put food away when it’s delivered, cooks, people who deliver food to residents, and staff who help residents eat, need to be trained on food safety regulations and how to avoid foodborne illnesses.
  • Other forms of neglect. Even with sufficient staffing and adequate training, a nursing home staff member may be negligent. For example, a staff member may be distracted by their cell phone and forget to put food away.

Just one food handling or food preparation error may cause a severe or deadly injury.

Food Poisoning Injuries

When an older adult suffers a foodborne illness, it could lead to serious, even fatal, consequences. As we age, our ability to fight bacteria and viruses decreases. Additionally, many nursing home residents suffer from medical conditions and compromised immune systems that increase their risk of suffering serious food poisoning injuries. Symptoms of food poisoning may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stools
  • Fever
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Neurological symptoms

These symptoms may be signs of:

  • Salmonella
  • Norovirus
  • E. Coli
  • Other infections

Treatment may require hospitalization, and in some cases, recovery is impossible, and food poisoning will cause a nursing home resident’s death.

When to Contact a Nursing Home Injury Lawyer

Your loved one didn’t have to suffer the severe or fatal effects of someone else’s food-handling negligence. Now that the harm has been done, your loved one or their survivors deserve to make a full and fair recovery.

Our experienced Kentucky nursing home injury lawyers know how to:

  • Investigate food poisoning injuries. We will find out if a mistake happened with food preparation, handling, or serving and why it happened.
  • Hold the right people accountable for food poisoning illnesses and deaths. We will identify all of the potential defendants in a nursing home injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

We will fight for your loved one’s recovery of medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain, and emotional suffering, and we will make sure that the nursing home has procedures in place to prevent future food poisoning illnesses. Nursing home neglect should not be tolerated, and we will do everything we can to fight back against it.

You can begin protecting your loved one or their survivors and other nursing home residents by contacting us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our dedicated attorneys and law firm nurse will provide your family with the individual attention you deserve, and you won’t owe us any legal fees unless your case ends with a financial recovery. Call us, start a live chat with us, or complete our online contact form to learn more.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law