Peoria Nursing Home Choking Attorney
Experienced Peoria Nursing Home Choking Lawyers Advocating for Your Loved Ones
When a person cannot fully address their own needs due to issues related to age, disability, or other health concerns, they may need to reside in a nursing home or assisted living facility. This will ensure that they can live in an environment where their needs will be met and they will be protected against issues that could have a negative impact on their ongoing health and well-being. However, there are far too many cases in which nursing home residents do not receive the proper care and supervision, and they may suffer serious injuries due to nursing home neglect. While there are many types of injuries that can occur, issues related to choking are some of the most common problems that affect patients in nursing homes.
Choking injuries can have devastating consequences, and they may result in long-term harm, permanent disabilities, or even wrongful death. These types of nursing home injuries are often preventable, and it is important for nursing home staff and administrators to take steps to address any issues that could lead to choking incidents. Unfortunately, issues such as understaffing or lack of supervision can increase the likelihood that patients will suffer serious harm due to choking injuries.
When a nursing home resident has experienced choking injuries, their loved ones will want to understand why this occurred and what can be done to address the issue and prevent similar incidents in the future. With the help of an attorney at the Nursing Home Injury Center, a family can make sure the health and safety of their loved one will be protected, and they can take steps to hold a negligent nursing home responsible for its failure to provide the proper care and supervision. Our goal is to promote safety in nursing homes while helping families understand their rights and options as they respond to situations where a resident suffered harm due to nursing home neglect.
Causes of Nursing Home Choking Injuries
There are numerous reasons why people in nursing homes may experience choking, including:
- Incorrect food preparation or handling – A nursing home’s staff members should be sure to prepare and serve food to patients according to their specific needs. If food is not prepared properly, the risks of choking can increase significantly. In some cases, food items may not be adequately chopped or sliced into small, bite-sized pieces, or a person may be provided with foods that are too difficult to chew. If necessary, food may need to be pureed or provided in liquid form for patients who are unable to eat solid foods. Staff members may also fail to provide adequate liquid with meals, and this can increase the risk of choking on food items.
- Unsafe eating utensils, containers, or packaging – If nursing home residents are provided with utensils or containers that are not suitable for their needs, this can increase the risk of choking. Utensils may be too small or large, or containers may be too wide or deep, and these issues may make it more difficult for a person to pick up food items and eat them in a safe manner. Food packaging can sometimes also present choking hazards, such as when small pieces of plastic break off from packaging and become mixed in with food. Nursing home staff members should make sure that a person is not provided with hazardous items that could lead to choking.
- Difficulty chewing due to physical limitations – If nursing home residents have difficulty with chewing or swallowing, nursing staff should be sure to provide the proper accommodations and supervision. A nursing home should assess a resident’s abilities and needs on a regular basis, and meals should be monitored to make sure that a person who is at risk will be safe while they are eating.
- Unsafe seating positions or posture – Seating positions that are too low or do not provide adequate support can increase the risk of choking. In some cases, nursing home patients may have difficulty sitting up straight or maintaining the proper posture while eating. Nursing home staff should be sure to provide nursing home residents with chairs and other seating options that are suitable for their needs, and they should also help them adjust into comfortable and safe positions before meals.
- Breathing and feeding tube issues – Some nursing home patients may use breathing tubes to ensure that they can receive the proper oxygen, or feeding tubes may be used to provide them with the proper nutrition. If nursing home staff are not monitoring these tubes as necessary and making sure they are functioning properly, blockages can occur, increasing the risk of choking and asphyxiation.
- Medication issues – In some cases, medications taken by a nursing home resident may increase the risks of choking. Some medications may cause a person to experience a dry mouth, which can cause difficulty swallowing. Other drugs may affect a person’s bodily control, limiting their ability to chew food properly and swallow correctly. Nursing home staff should be aware of the ways different medications may affect patients, and steps should be taken to ensure that residents will be able to eat and drink safely. Staff members should also take care when administering medicines, and they may need to take steps to ensure that patients do not choke on pills. If the wrong drugs are administered, or if medications are provided at incorrect doses, this may increase the risks of choking when a person is eating or drinking. To prevent these issues, nursing home staff should assess a patient’s medication needs on an ongoing basis and make sure the proper procedures are followed when administering different types of drugs.
In many cases, choking injuries occur due to a lack of proper supervision. Nursing home staff members are expected to provide the necessary supervision and assistance during meal times or any other times that residents need help with eating or drinking. They should take steps to address any potential safety issues, such as making sure a person’s dentures are in place before eating, and they should minimize any potential distractions that could put patients at risk, such as TVs or loud noises.
Residents also should be regularly assessed for potential choking risks, and nutrition plans should be created to ensure that they will be able to receive sufficient food and liquids. Patients who are at risk of choking due to issues such as strokes, dementia, or other physical or mental health issues that may lead to difficulty chewing or swallowing should be closely monitored, and any signs of choking should be addressed immediately to prevent injuries.
Effects of Nursing Home Choking Injuries
When a nursing home resident chokes on food, beverages, or foreign objects, the primary danger they face is asphyxiation. A blockage in a person’s airways will cut off their supply of oxygen, and if their ability to breathe is not restored promptly, they may die. To prevent this from happening, staff members should respond immediately to any signs of choking, such as coughing, gagging, an inability to speak, hand gestures that indicate that a person needs help, bluish skin on the face and around the lips, or a loss of consciousness. If necessary, the Heimlich maneuver or other methods may need to be used to clear a person’s airways and ensure that they can begin breathing again.
Even if choking is dealt with in time to prevent death, a temporary lack of oxygen can result in injuries that may affect a person temporarily or permanently. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, brain cells may die, and a person may experience permanent brain damage. These issues can often affect the areas of the brain that control movement and balance, leading to physical impairments that limit a person’s ability to move about on their own, participate in daily activities, or address their own needs. Brain injuries may also lead to memory loss and cognitive issues that affect a person’s ability to communicate with others, understand information, or make decisions. To prevent these issues, it is crucial to address choking immediately before a lack of oxygen can cause damage to the brain.
Choking injuries can also cause harm to other parts of the body. When food or liquid is aspirated into the lungs, this may cause damage to lung tissue, which may affect a person’s ability to breathe properly and receive enough oxygen. In some cases, these issues may also lead to dangerous infections that could threaten a person’s life, as well as complications that may affect other bodily systems.
Get Legal Help With Nursing Home Choking Injuries
Choking injuries in nursing homes can cause serious physical and mental harm to residents, and these situations often lead to permanent health issues that can drastically affect a person’s quality of life. Nursing home staff members must be vigilant when it comes to assessing a resident’s needs and providing the necessary supervision during meal times or other activities that could put them at risk of choking.
If you believe your loved one has suffered a choking injury due to nursing home neglect, you will want to understand how to address this issue correctly. In addition to making sure these situations do not happen to your loved one again in the future, you will likely want to address any safety concerns that affect other residents of a nursing home. With the help of an attorney at the Nursing Home Injury Center, you can make sure these concerns will be addressed correctly, and you can take steps to hold a negligent nursing home responsible for the harm done to your loved one. To learn how we can assist with choking injuries and other issues related to nursing home negligence, contact us and schedule a free consultation by calling 309-524-6900.