By now, it’s been well established that nursing home abuse is an epidemic in this country. I see many devastating cases, as a nursing home lawyer Memphis TN trusts.

Every year, at least 10 million senior citizens are abused or neglected, though many experts believe the real number is much higher due to unreported cases.

I believe that we need to shine a brighter spotlight on this issue as a whole, but some forms of abuse are mentioned more frequently, and better understood, than others. In particular, there’s been a deeper conversation around bedsores, medication errors, and physical abuse in recent years. But others issues, like food safety, remain overlooked.

Food Safety Issues are Harming Seniors Across the U.S.

A nonprofit news organization called FairWarning recently conducted an intensive, five-month investigation on food handling at America’s long-term care settings and nursing homes. As a nursing home lawyer Memphis TN turns to, I find what they discovered to be very troubling, to say the least.

Charlene Harrington, a nurse and professor at the University of California, San Francisco, expressed concern about what she called the “under-reporting of food issues” to FairWarning: “It’s an accepted practice to have [bad] conditions in the kitchen. And people are just totally unaware of it.”

We might not be talking about foodborne illness at nursing home facilities, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 230 reported foodborne outbreaks at nursing homes across America from 1998 to 2017. They led to at least 54 deaths and 532 hospitalizations. At least 7,648 elders become sick as a result.

These are other key statistics that show just how common dangerous food handling practices are.

  • Last year, improper food handling was the third most frequently cited violation at America’s approximately 15,700 nursing homes.
  • In 2018, 33% of nursing homes violated federal requirements to safely store, prepare, and serve food.

Elders Are Uniquely Vulnerable

This is an instance where those affected are the ones who are the most vulnerable. As Marjie Lundstrom writes for FairWarning, “While foodborne illness is a threat to any age group, people over 65 are especially susceptible due to weakened immune systems, chronic diseases, immobility and age-related changes in their digestive systems. Yet unlike restaurant patrons, who can walk away from bad meals—and trash the establishment later on Yelp—long-term care residents are basically stuck.”

Talk to a Nursing Home Lawyer Memphis TN Trusts

All elders at nursing homes should feel safe and comfortable. Nursing home abuse and neglect is all too prevalent, and we have to hold abusers accountable.

Our lawyers are committed to getting justice for families who have watched a loved one suffer. If you suspect your loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home or assisted living facility, call us at (901) 327-1212 or contact us here.