Choking in Nursing Homes

Choking in Nursing Homes

It is normal to lose muscle mass and strength as you grow older. As the muscles in the body become weaker, some elderly people have difficulty chewing and swallowing food. This puts them at a high risk of choking. Difficulty swallowing food has increased the risk of choking in nursing homes. To prevent choking from occurring, mealtime should be supervised by staff who are trained to handle choking events. Unfortunately, some nursing homes are so understaffed that they do not have personnel to supervise the residents during meals. If you suspect that your loved one experienced a choking event due to the negligence of their nursing home, contact Patel Law P.C. for help pursuing a personal injury claim.

Causes of Choking

There are many different causes of choking events that occur in nursing homes, such as the following:

1.         Dysphagia

This is a condition where a person has difficulty swallowing due to having weak nerves or muscles. Conditions the Mayo Clinic has listed that can increase the risk of dysphagia include neurological diseases like muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Neurological damage caused by spinal injuries or a stroke, as well as certain cancers can also make it difficult to swallow. People who have dysphagia can aspirate on foods and fluids, and this can lead to life-threatening pneumonia.

2.         Food texture

Over time, seniors have a difficult time chewing food and will need to eat soft foods that are easy to swallow. It might be necessary to change the texture of the food to facilitate easier swallowing. If the food is in huge, hard chunks, the resident has a higher chance of choking.

3.         Dentures That Do Not Fit

Poor dental health can decrease the efficiency of chewing. Missing teeth and dentures that are poorly fitting can cause choking or gagging.

4.         Lying Down While eating

As seniors age, they start having a hard time maintaining the right posture while feeding. Those who are bedridden have a harder time swallowing their food and this can increase their risk of choking.

5.         Dry Mouth

There are certain conditions and medications that can make one have a dry mouth. Lack of saliva makes it harder to swallow food. The food can get stuck on the throat, and this can cause choking. It can also lead to aspiration that can cause pneumonia that can be life-threatening due to the advanced age of seniors.

Complications That Arise as a Result of Choking

The worst result that comes from choking is loss of life. Death can occur if first aid is not administered on time.

If the victim survives, they can still have some complications. If they do not get enough oxygen within the first five minutes, they can suffer from brain damage which can affect areas of the brain that deal with memory, movement, and balance. As a result, they might need specialized rehabilitative care that can be costly.

Choking in Nursing Homes

Choking can also occur due to negligence of the nursing home employees. For you to receive compensation from nursing homes due to your loved ones choking, you need to prove four things:

  • The nursing home had a duty of care toward your loved one.
  • There was a breach of that duty due to neglect or abuse.
  • The breach of duty caused the injuries.
  • Your loved one suffered damages as a result of the actions of the nursing home.

Patel Law, P.C Can Assist You

When you place your loved one in a nursing home, you trust that the nursing home will provide the best care possible. If you find that your loved one is not receiving the care they deserve, you have the right to hold the nursing home responsible for any injuries and/or loss of life that result. It can be difficult to get compensation from the nursing home on your own. That is why you need the help of Patel Law, P.C. Our team of legal professionals are ready to fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact Our Nursing Home Choking Lawyers Today

Your loved one deserves the best care, and that is why you put them under the care of nursing home professionals. If your loved one suffers from choking and gets injured or loses their life and you suspect the nursing home was negligent in providing care, you need to contact us and schedule a free consultation session to discuss the way forward.