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Schwartz Injury Law

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Choking Is a Serious Concern in Nursing Homes

Posted on in Neglect

Chicago nursing home choking injury attorneysElderly and disabled nursing home residents need help to safely carry out many everyday activities, including eating. Even if a resident is able to eat on his or her own, staff should monitor residents for signs that they may be struggling. Choking is a deadly hazard in nursing homes. Within a matter of minutes, a resident can be killed or suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen caused by choking.

Issues That Increase the Risk of Choking

According to the National Safety Council, over 5,000 people lost their lives because of choking in 2015 alone. Just under 3,000 of these choking victims were over age 74. Elderly people are often especially at risk of choking. Their mouth and esophagus muscles may be weakened from illness or age or they may have other problems such as dry mouth that increase choking risks. 

Some medical conditions increase the chances of choking in individuals of all ages, including:

  • Dysphagia or difficulty swallowing
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • ALS
  • Brain Injury
  • Stroke
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Esophageal spasm
  • Esophagitis
  • Esophageal tumors
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Neurological disorders

Choking Injuries and Deaths Are Often Preventable

Nursing home residents all have different needs and abilities. Some residents are able to experience a greater degree of independence than other residents. Residents with specific mental conditions or disabilities may need a great deal of care in one area of their life but require less assistance in other areas of their life. It is up to nursing home staff to recognize these differences and provide support to residents accordingly. If a resident is at a high risk of choking, staff should monitor the resident during mealtimes and stay vigilant for signs of choking. Staff can also help prevent choking by making foods easier to swallow or cutting foods into smaller pieces. Understaffing, negligent care, inadequate supervision, and other issues can increase the chances of a resident suffering a choking injury or death.

Contact a Chicago Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

If your loved one was injured or killed in a choking accident while he or she was living in a nursing home, a nursing home neglect claim may enable you to hold the negligent nursing home responsible for your loved one’s choking accident. You and/or your loved one could be entitled to financial compensation for medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and other damages. Call Schwartz Injury Law at 312-535-4625 today and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a Cook County nursing home injury attorney to learn more.

 

Sources:

https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/safety-topics/choking-suffocation

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