Choking Incidents Are Often the Result of Nursing Home Neglect
Understanding the connection between neglect and choking in nursing home residents.
Neglectful care can lead to increased choking risks in nursing home residents. In Ohio, families who recognize the signs of neglect and understand the legal implications are in a good position to take action to protect their loved ones.
Choking is a problem among the elderly and in nursing homes. People ages 65 and older have a death rate due to choking and suffocation that is 8 times higher than any other age group. When nursing home negligence and abuse lead to a resident choking, the results are often severe and may include throat injuries, infections, or even death.
If you suspect that a loved one has been harmed due to nursing home negligence, it's important to understand your potential legal options. At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, in Columbus, OH, our nursing home neglect attorneys are committed to holding negligent nursing facilities accountable and fighting for the justice families deserve.
Nursing home neglect can lead to choking incidents
There are many types of neglect that can significantly contribute to nursing home residents' vulnerability to choking. Some common types of substandard treatment that raise the risk of choking include:
- Inadequate supervision. When staff fail to monitor residents during meals, those with swallowing difficulties or mobility issues may not receive the assistance they need. This lack of supervision increases the risk of choking, as residents may attempt to consume foods or liquids that they can't safely manage independently.
- Failure to modify diets. Residents with swallowing difficulties or specific dietary needs should have modified meal plans to reduce the risk of choking.
- Neglect of hydration needs. Dehydration can lead to dry mouth and difficulty swallowing, increasing the likelihood of choking on food or fluids.
- Delayed response to emergencies. When someone is choking, every second counts. A slow or untrained response is the type of negligence that can have devastating consequences.
Addressing choking risks in nursing homes
For the well-being of residents, it is crucial for nursing homes to recognize risk factors and take measures to mitigate choking hazards effectively. Common indicators that a resident may be at a heightened risk of choking include:
- Difficulty communicating
- Excessive drooling
- Swallowing discomfort or pain
- Frequent heartburn
- Recurrent vomiting
- A sensation of food becoming lodged in the throat
- Medications inducing dry mouth
- Limited access to water and fluids
- A history of previous choking incidents
Identifying potential choking hazards
Ultimately, the responsibility for preventing choking incidents falls upon nursing home staff. To mitigate choking risks, nursing homes can employ effective strategies like "bolus modification."
This approach emphasizes the provision of easily chewable food, ensuring residents eat in an upright seated position, and allowing ample time for slow and thorough chewing.
Unfortunately, the post-choking care for nursing home residents at risk is often lacking. One study showed that approximately 75 percent of nursing homes do not routinely screen for dysphagia (a medical term that refers to difficulty or discomfort in swallowing food, liquids, or even saliva), and many neglect follow-up assessments after choking incidents occur.
A nursing home neglect lawyer can help demand justice and accountability
Nursing homes in Ohio and across the nation have a legal responsibility to ensure residents receive proper care, which includes the prevention of choking incidents.
Choking episodes within nursing facilities can result in severe consequences, ranging from life-threatening outcomes like asphyxiation, hypoxia, and brain damage to non-fatal injuries such as throat damage, complications from the Heimlich Maneuver, and aspiration pneumonia.
If you believe your loved one was harmed due to nursing home neglect, contact Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC to schedule a free case evaluation. Our experienced Columbus nursing home abuse attorneys will put your family's best interests first.