Nursing Home Abuse – Choking

Nursing home residents arrive to live there with a variety of different infirmities, ailments or illnesses. Because of a medical or physical condition, a nursing home resident may have special requirements for taking medication or receiving nutrition by way of food.

In spite of nursing home facilities’ awareness of a specific nursing home resident’s needs, choking injuries and fatalities are rather common in nursing homes and in long-term care facilities. Residents are injured or die because a nursing home nurse or other personnel is unaware of the particular special medical needs of the resident. For example, the delivery of medications can cause throat and mouth dryness and sparse saliva which may cause choking.

In addition, food-related choking is responsible for deaths in nursing homes particularly of the elderly over the age of 65. Some of the residents of nursing homes have swallowing difficulties that must be acknowledged by using special foods for such residents. Without that additional care, food-related choking is responsible for injuries and deaths to thousands of nursing home residents around the United States and Illinois.

Some nursing home residents also have neurological problems which prevent normal swallowing function. In the absence of special care, choking is a high risk problem. Some residents are required to use breathing machines and tubes that can also lead to choking. Where a nursing home resident is required to utilize a breathing machine or a ventilator, it is imperative that nursing home personnel regularly check the tubes for clogging, for mucus buildup and other obstructions. Without regular inspections, the breathing equipment may fail causing serious injury or death to the resident. Oxygen deprivation will lead to brain damage or death.

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities have a duty to provide safe conditions for its residents. Monitoring residents who have special needs is required.

Choking and suffocation in nursing homes continue to be a major cause of resident’s deaths in nursing homes. Because some residents suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive deficits, residents are unable to consume food normally and safely. Each nursing home patient is evaluated uniquely to their individual needs. Those residents who cannot intake food without the danger of choking must be monitored differently than the other nursing population.

These residents, who require the special assistance of nurses and nurse’s aide, should be sorted out by the nurse administrator of the nursing home. Special assistance is required. Thus, the nursing home must have the requisite number of trained personnel to handle these residents. If they do not adequately staff the nursing home, impaired residents will not receive the assistance needed to avoid the real danger of choking. Too many times, nursing residents are left to their own devices or are forgotten at times, that can result in the death of a resident by choking. Some nursing home residents have a condition known as dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, which can give rise to choking. Nursing home personnel must be acutely aware of such residents that have difficulty swallowing to prevent choking.

Illinois’s Nursing Home Care Act and federal legislation require nursing homes to abide by the state’s public health laws. When a nursing home allows one of its residents to unnecessarily die by choking the Illinois Department of Public Health will investigate. In some cases where choking of a nursing home resident occurs resulting in a death because of the neglect or negligence of the nursing home or its personnel, a fine will be levied against it. This is a very serious offense. The licensing of the nursing home could be revoked if found to be a case of preventable neglect.

If you or a loved one has been injured or has died as a result of choking at a nursing home or a long-term care facility, please contact Kreisman Law Offices.

Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Chicago and Illinois nursing home abuse cases for more than 40 years. Kreisman Law Offices has prevailed in trials and settlements in Chicago, Illinois and surrounding communities and has successfully resolved cases for those injured or abused in nursing homes for these many years.

With our years of experience in trying and settling nursing home abuse cases, Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our clients and have achieved unsurpassed results. Our service is unmatched. Please call us 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online.

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