Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week    |   Hablamos Espanol

What Causes Choking Deaths in Nursing Homes?

Choking and suffocation risk rises with age, and nursing home supervisors and employees should be aware of how to recognize and reduce the danger of these potentially deadly incidents. If not, they risk being held responsible for any significant injuries or fatalities brought on by people choking and suffocating in nursing homes.

We at Dalli & Marino, LLP, are aware of how tough it may be to see your loved ones go through any kind of trauma, suffering, or distress. As a New York nursing home neglect lawyer, we can assist clients and their loved ones in situations of nursing home choking injury or death caused by nursing home negligence. If you suspect a loved one in your family is in a dangerous or negligent environment, feel free to contact a member of our legal team who may be able to help.

What Causes Choking Accidents in Nursing Homes?

An older person’s ability to swallow may diminish as they age, accompanied by weak or missing teeth. Additionally, the surfaces of the throat and mouth are less moist. The muscles in the mouth and throat lose strength, which slows down swallowing and makes it harder to swallow solid foods that are dry or hard.

The following elements can influence the risk of choking:

  • Consuming very big or difficult-to-chew pieces of food
  • Medical diseases that impair eating abilities
  • Side effects of medications that alter motor coordination, alertness, or appetite
  • Dentures or other dental appliances
  • Inadequate monitoring when eating
  • Unintended inhalation

While an injury of this nature may appear unintentional, nursing homes can be liable for choking accidents. If the choking happened because the patient was not adequately supervised, it is the nursing home’s fault and may be considered nursing home abuse.

What Are the Signs of Choking?

Choking happens when food becomes caught in the windpipe rather than the esophagus. This obstructs airflow and instantly begins the countdown to brain damage and death.

Choking warning signs include:

  • A scared expression on the face
  • Gagging or coughing
  • Hand signs such as pointing at the throat
  • Inability to communicate
  • Loss of consciousness
  • As oxygen levels drop, the skin around the cheeks, lips, and fingernails turns blue
  • Wheezing

Vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, may have difficulty communicating when choking, especially if they get quickly confused or are frail. When choking occurs, rapid care is required since lasting brain damage and death can occur within minutes.

Choking in Nursing Homes May Be Due to Neglect

You expect that the personnel at the nursing home where your loved one is being cared for will abide by all directives about their medical condition. If they have dysphagia as a result of a medical ailment, members of staff may be required to closely watch the resident throughout meals and ensure that any dietary requirements are followed correctly.

If you feel your senior loved one’s choking episode was caused by a negligent nursing home or nursing home staff, you may be entitled to compensation on their behalf. You must establish negligence to collect reimbursement for their sufferings and damages. In a lawsuit involving a personal injury or wrongful death, you must establish four elements:

  • The nursing facility has a duty of care to your loved one.
  • The nursing facility violated its duty of care (due to abuse or neglect).
  • Your loved one was injured as a result of the breach.
  • As a result, your loved one experienced losses, or damages.

Choking incidents can be indicators of nursing home negligence. The staff is responsible for supervising residents regularly, particularly those at high risk of choking. Failure to supervise meals, check medicine consumption, or prepare suitable food for a restricted diet is grounds for inquiry and may result in a court case of nursing home negligence.

What Steps Can Nursing Homes Take to Prevent Choking Deaths?

When a person joins a nursing home, the facility is expected to conduct extensive evaluations to identify their overall physical, cognitive, and mental needs and conditions. To ensure the best attainable level of health and function, a care plan, or therapy guide, is developed premised on these evaluations. These care plans must be adapted to the unique resident and their risk factors. This evaluation should also examine any risk factors that may compromise the resident’s swallowing, breathing, and chewing abilities.

In some cases, the resident should be sent to a physician or speech-language pathologist to receive a complete examination of their ability to eat and drink. A swallow test is frequently conducted to confirm that the resident can comfortably swallow specific foods and drinks without increasing the probability of choking or aspiration.

Adjusting the Care Plan and Points of Failure

Upon entrance to the nursing home, the nursing staff is obligated to observe and reevaluate the resident for any developments in skills or habits and to adapt the resident’s care plan appropriately to avoid unnecessary damage or death from choking. Dysphagia patients should have special notes in their care plan. On the other hand, some nursing facilities make insufficient care plans, forgetting to incorporate dining help or food guidelines for the elderly who have difficulty swallowing.

Other times, the family may have addressed the necessity for a thorough care plan for their senior loved one with the nursing home management, only to learn that the nursing home staff completely ignores it. Instead, staff dismiss dietary directives since they are either uninformed of the requirements or don’t want to bother with them. Negligence occurs when a nursing home fails to accommodate your elderly or disabled loved one’s nutritional demands. If the nursing home’s failure to perform its obligations resulted in a choking injury or death, a New York City nursing home negligence lawyer could help you file a claim or lawsuit.

Contact Our Expert Nursing Home Lawyers in New York City Today

If you suspect a family member is being mistreated or neglected, call the experienced attorneys at Dalli & Marino, LLP. We are a group of competent attorneys that are familiar with New York rules and government healthcare. We approach each case individually to assist you or a loved one in recovering the funds required to compensate for injury or illness.

Call (888) 465-8790 or fill out our contact form today to learn more about filing a lawsuit or pursuing an insurance claim. A legal team representative is readily available to address your concerns and advise you on the best course of action. We also speak Spanish.

3010 Eastchester Rd, Bronx, NY 10469

66-50 Myrtle Ave, Queens, NY 11385