Afraid they’ll go hungry, Missouri nursing home workers buy food for residents with workers’ own money

Courtesy: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

Courtesy: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

FESTUS, Mo. — The bills were unpaid, the phones shut off, trash piled up and food ran out. The problems at the Benchmark Healthcare nursing home in Festus, Mo., forced the state to take the unusual step of shutting it down earlier this month. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that by the time the nursing home closed amid its parent company’s financial problems, employees were spending their own money to feed residents.

The facility has 79 beds.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the dietary manager told inspectors ‘she purchased the food with her own money, was worried about the residents’ next meal and did not know how much longer she would be able to feed the residents.’

This was after inspectors found two walk-in freezers empty and the other had only two bags of french fries, six ice cream bars, and eight small bowls of what appeared to be ice-cream, according to the Dispatch.

The home’s owner is Legacy Health Systems, a Chesterfield, Missouri-based firm that once had 27 facilities in Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Legacy sold most of its assets in recent years, or had them seized by creditors. About 200 people live in the remaining facilities in Sikeston, Missouri, and Puryear, Tennessee.

Festus, Mo., is about 40 minutes south of St. Louis.