Many residents in nursing homes are more likely to suffer from food borne illness than the rest of the population. In many cases, it’s because it takes longer to get residents food that’s prepared for an entire facility and therefore has sat for an undetermined amount of time prior to serving. Last year, at a California facility, for example, it was reported that as many as 80 patients and staff fell ill from an outbreak of norovirus (also referred to as Norwalk Virus). Several were taken to the hospital because of their age and the severity of the illness.
A weakened immune system can also play a part in elderly patients becoming sick or ill in relation to the foods they are served. The medications they take may further inhibit an already frail immune system. Their health may be compromised by pre-existing conditions, such as a chronic disease, or the decline in their ability to smell or taste foods may not alert them to the fact that their meal is tainted or has gone bad.
Contaminated eggs are known to be a source for food contamination in these facilities. Here are some helpful hints you can share with your nursing home or assisted living facility clients to help prevent food borne illness from occurring, especially when it comes to eggs:
- Do not serve raw eggs.
- With high-risk populations such as those in nursing homes, pasteurized egg products should be substituted for raw eggs used in recipes, where possible.
- Separate blenders should be used for pureeing other foods if a blender is use for scrambling eggs.
- Pay special attention to washing and sanitizing any kitchen equipment that comes in contact with the contents of shell eggs.
- Thoroughly cook all eggs so that the yolk and white are solid.
- Review procedures to prevent cross-contamination between raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs; including with hands, surfaces, utensils and other foods.
At Caitlin-Morgan, we specialize in the insurance needs of nursing home & assisted living facilities, and can help you with your clients’ insurance protection and risk management concerns.