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Schwartz Injury Law

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Cook County Nursing Home Abuse LawyerWhen we think of nursing home dangers, wandering and elopement, severe fall accidents, or other dramatic incidents may come to mind. However, in many cases, the most dangerous thing that a nursing home resident does each day occurs during mealtimes. Elderly individuals and those with disabilities may have difficulty chewing and swallowing food. While it may seem insignificant, something as simple as choking on a piece of food can be deadly for vulnerable nursing home residents. This is why it is so important for nursing home staff to carefully monitor residents during mealtimes and make any accommodations necessary to avoid choking.

If your loved one was injured or killed by a choking incident at a nursing home, read on to learn about your legal options.

Choking Hazards in Illinois Nursing Homes

Many nursing home residents are elderly. Many older individuals suffer from dry mouth which makes it harder to swallow food. Food can get stuck in the throat and block the airway. The problem is so common that choking is statistically the third-leading cause of unintentional injury death for people over the age of 65.  Candy, food, medications, and even water can be choking hazards for elderly people.

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elmhurst nursing home injury lawyerMost of us take the ability to chew and swallow our food for granted. We eat three times a day or more without thinking twice about whether eating poses a risk to our safety. But as bodies age, reductions in muscle mass and strength in the mouth and throat, combined with dental problems such as tooth loss, make elderly populations at a much higher risk of choking on food. Even babies and very young children are at substantially less risk of choking on food than an adult over age 65. 

This has especially significant implications for elderly residents of Illinois nursing homes who often require the assistance of nursing home staff to eat. When staff are overworked, undertrained, or left to monitor too many patients, nursing home residents may be improperly supervised and could choke on their food as a result. Sometimes, choking incidents are serious enough to be fatal

Choking Incidents Require Immediate Attention

When someone chokes on food, the food may partially or fully block the airway. If the food only partially blocks a person’s airway, they can usually cough and make noise. Often coughing is enough to move the food and clear the airway. 

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Cook County Nursing Home Neglect LawyerIn addition to providing the health, nutrition, and daily schedule for nursing home residents, nursing home staff are also responsible for providing adequate security and supervision. Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to crime because their physical frailty and decreased mental faculties can make them such easy targets. 

Additionally, security and supervision are essential when nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are at risk from wandering within or away from facilities. If nursing home residents do not take reasonable measures to prevent this behavior, residents can be injured, abused, lost, taken advantage of, or even killed. Proper security and supervision are intertwined in Illinois nursing homes, and the lack of one may signal the lack of the other. 

Lack of Appropriate Security in Preventing Crime

Nursing homes are responsible for ensuring they have adequate protocols to protect their residents and lawful guests. This means residents should anticipate potential criminal behavior from visitors, employees, and other residents. Whether certain measures are appropriate for a facility depends on the facility’s residents, location, and other factors. What is appropriate security for one nursing home may not be sufficient for another. 

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chicago nursing home injury lawyerNursing home residents generally require a closer eye to ensure their safety and care. But when a nursing home facility is understaffed, its ability to maintain the wellbeing of its patients can become compromised. Unfortunately, such a situation commonly leads to nursing home neglect.

There are numerous ways in which a staff shortage can negatively impact both staff and residents. Some of these issues include:

illinois nursing home neglect lawyerNeglect of nursing home residents is a common and serious problem in Illinois. Most of the incidents occur in the facilities where the residents live, perhaps because of issues like overcrowding or insufficient staffing or training. However, nursing home staff may also be responsible for the care and safety of residents while they are outside of the facility. If you or a loved one suffers an injury at any time while under the care of a nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation.

Nursing Home Employees Charged After Recent Illinois Incident

An ongoing case in Illinois illustrates a possible example of how neglect can occur when a nursing home resident is away from the facility. In February of this year, a woman died in a transport van after receiving off-site medical treatment at a hospital. Upon returning to her residential facility, the woman was left in the van overnight in below-freezing temperatures. Now, the driver and the residential care manager at the facility are both facing felony neglect charges.

Risks of Off-Site Injuries for Care Facility Residents

There are a number of situations in which a nursing home resident could be at risk of injury while outside of their care facility. Some examples include:

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