Choking Injuries in Nursing Home Residents
With the number of reports of nursing home neglect on a rise, it is not surprising that choking continues to be a leading cause of death in nursing homes. Patients with cognitive impairments (Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, stroke survivors and Parkinson’s disease) are most at risk for choking related deaths. Nursing home residents with these afflictions need special assistance with eating so they do not choke on their food. Nursing personnel should assist them to ensure that they can swallow the food property and that too much food is not put in their mouth at one time.
It is the responsibility of the nursing home staff to give any eating assistance needed. Even if the choking may be considered accidental, the nursing home and staff can be held accountable for failing to monitor the patient’s choking, through a nursing home negligence lawsuit.
Preventing Choking Deaths in Nursing Homes
A medical professional/nurse should examine the patient and recommend an eating program for each specific patient. Options include initiating a pureed diet (consisting of foods that do not require chewing, like pudding) or initiating a feeding tube. At the very least, at-risk patients should be monitored while eating to make sure they do not choke.
Is the food soft enough, cut into small enough pieces, or easy to swallow? Is a staff member monitoring the person to prevent choking? Merely changing a patient’s position minimizing choking hazards. Reaction time is also critical. When a nursing home patient is choking, staff members have a very limited time to act to avoid permanent brain damage or even death.
Clogged Feeding Tubes and Choking on Medications
The above choking precautions apply not only to food-related choking, but also to medication and feeding tubes. Many times we see residents who tragically choked to death on medications or a clogged feeding tube, all because staff was not properly monitoring the patient in their time of need.
Nursing Home Choking Lawsuit
Tragic accidents can happen. But preventable choking incidences at nursing homes need to be reported and acted upon. If this happened to your loved one, make your voice heard by investigating the incident. If staff members at the facility are not paying proper attention to the patients at meal time, especially choking risk patients, you need to report it to the patient neglect immediately. Regardless of the reason for the patient to need assistance, it is of utmost importance that all patients receive, at the very least, adequate specialized care, monitoring and help.
If you have been in this unfortunate situation, or any type of nursing home neglect with a loved one, you may want to seek legal counsel to hold the nursing home accountable. Contact our nursing home abuse law firm today to speak about your potential nursing home choking wrongful death claim. Contact us today for your free choking case evaluation at 1-844-253-8919.