Nursing home abuse

Nursing Home Choking Injuries

November 5, 2019 by James McHugh, Jr.
Choking Injuries

As people age, they can develop problems with swallowing called Presbyphagia, regardless of whether or not they have other serious medical conditions. Since many elderly patients live in nursing homes or other long term care facilities, the potential for swallowing problems and choking injuries should be known to the staff and watched out for. It only takes a few moments for choking to result in long-lasting consequences, so it is important nursing home staff members are familiar with the various factors that contribute to choking and that they respond quickly if an emergency arises.

Choking occurs when an obstruction blocks the windpipe so a person can’t get the necessary air. Choking is particularly common in the elderly population because many elderly individuals have health problems that can interfere with their ability to safely swallow, including neurological damage and dementia, among others.

Causes of Nursing Home Choking Injuries

Food: The dining room at the nursing home requires a great deal of supervision. Residents need varying levels of assistance when it comes to eating. Some residents need to have their food cut and fed to them.

Large Pills: A Federal Drug Administration (FDA) report in the Annals of Internal Medicine says adults aged 65 years and older are more likely to choke on dietary supplements than younger adults. The group most impacted by the hazard includes those living in nursing homes or assisted living centers. The research shows multivitamins and calcium tablets, as well as pills larger than 17 mm in length, create the most adverse choking injuries for elderly residents. This risk is compounded further as elderly patients also tend to take more medications on a daily basis.

Ventilator Issues: Significant portions of patients in nursing homes are on ventilators or other devices that assist with breathing. The choking risk is especially great in these scenarios because any obstruction of a breathing tube can result in injury or even death. Meals do not present the only risk here; improper ventilator maintenance and blockages can pose a danger to the elderly.

Nursing Home Malpractice Lawyers

Choking hazards in nursing homes can affect loved ones when the staff has inadequate training and is unaware of how to prevent these situations from occurring. Choking injuries and deaths rank high on the list of awful consequences occurring in nursing homes. Many choking accidents are preventable. If one of your loved ones suffered a choking injury, we will thoroughly investigate your case and analyze all aspects of the claim, so contact the nursing home lawyers of Lopez McHugh today.

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