A community in California recently had a state survey and the surveyors identified the following concerns:
1. Staff were not properly trained as evidenced by expired foods, dirty cutting boards, and other food preparation equipment. In addition, the dish washer was not able to answer surveyor questions related to what would happen if the dishwashing machine were to fail
2. Cooks were unable to demonstrate how to use a thermometer and did not know what appropriate cooking temperatures should be
3. Residents on pureed diets were not given proper portions of food (may not be receiving enough nutrition)
Although maintaining a full staff is challenging in long-term care, we still need to follow food safety requirements and have a strong ongoing inservice program. New staff should receive onboarding training. In skilled nursing communities, staff are required to have a competency checklist and the checklist must be updated annually. The dining director will need to verify that each staff member understands their role and can perform their assigned tasks. In this scenario, the staff should have been inserviced on proper labeling and dating of food, accurately using a thermometer, and serving proper food portions.