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Listeria control and safe food training for dietary managers




Thigeel, Hanaa Abid, author
Kendall, Patricia A. (Patricia Ann), 1947-, advisor
Sofos, John Nikolaos, committee member
Bunning, Marisa, committee member

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Elderly individuals are a growing sector in the U.S. population. With that increase, the need for long-term care facilities (LTCF) is growing as well. It is estimated that 5% of individuals age 65 or older and 20% of individuals age 85 or older live in long-term care facilities. Due to aging, the immune system of the elderly becomes weak, which increases the vulnerability to foodborne illnesses. Other factors associated with aging like chronic disease, dementia, lack of physical activity and entering nursing homes, can also contribute to the increased susceptibility to foodborne diseases. For these reasons, caregivers of the elderly, including dietary managers who serve food to the elderly, should be aware of factors that can increase the likelihood of contracting infection. Listeria monocytogenes is a particularly important foodborne pathogen that can cause severe illnesses or even deaths in populations at higher risk for foodborne illness, including the elderly. "Listeria Control and Safe Food Training for Dietary Manager" was an on-line course developed to provide important information about this pathogen and suggested control measures. The training module targeted Dietary Managers and Registered Dietitians who work in LTCF. The module consisted of three segments and was 47 minutes long. The module included PowerPoint® slides, recorded audio, written scripts and reference links. Pre and post questionnaires were used to measure the course outcomes along with course evaluation items. Multiple-choice knowledge questions were developed and evaluated for reliability, content validity and difficulty by module developers. Of 20 questions initially developed from the course content and tested for reliability, 13 questions were selected as final questions. Participant recruitment for the module pilot testing was conducted through winter 2010. Participants were recruited via state Dietary Manager Associations and state associations for Registered Dietitians and Dietetic Technicians. Emails and advertisement fliers were used for recruiting efforts. Of 211 participants who showed interest in the module, 143 participants were able to complete both the pre and post knowledge questionnaires. Participants who completed the course received one continuing education credit from their professional organization. The module knowledge scores achieved significant increase (P<0.0001) from pre to post-questionnaire. The knowledge score overall increased from 65.7% correct pre to 88.7% post. The course evaluation showed that more than 90% agreed or strongly agreed that they gained new and useful information from the course and planned to use the information in training others. They also found the web module a convenient way to earn continuing education credits. Feedback gained from course pilot test and evaluation will be considered as a helpful tool in making improvements to future on-line courses.


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dietary managers training
Listeria monocytogenes -- Prevention
Listeria control
Foodborne diseases -- Prevention
food safety
Food -- Safety measures


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