Choking is a real risk to residents of nursing homes, especially when administrators and staff in the home neglect their responsibility to care for your loved one. There are several ways that decision-makers and staff in a nursing home can increase your loved one’s risk of succumbing to death by choking.
The Elderly Are Especially Susceptible to Choking
Choking is a risk for anyone if they are not careful while eating, but several characteristics of the elderly make them particularly susceptible to choking. More than half of those who died from choking in 2015 were over the age of 74, according to reports from the National Safety Council.
Some of the risk factors for choking include:
- Medication side effects like dry mouth
- Neurological conditions like dementia
- Gastrointestinal reflux (GERD)
- Poor oral hygiene
If your loved one was at an increased risk of choking, the nursing home staff and administration may be liable for failing to be aware of these heightened risks, or for not taking extra care to prevent choking. There are several ways that nursing home administrators and staff can fail to take proper precautions, and may have increased your loved one’s risk of choking.
Forms of Neglect That Increase the Risk of Choking and Other Injuries
If your loved one died from choking while living in a nursing home, administrators or direct caregivers, may have failed to live up to their duty of care.
Nursing Home Administrators’ Duty to Your Loved One
Administrators are typically not involved in day-to-day caregiving for nursing home residents, but their decisions can be more impactful on the health and safety of residents than the direct caregivers themselves. Some ways that nursing home administrators may fall short of their duty of care include:
- Not properly installing monitoring devices, such as cameras, throughout the nursing home.
- Failing to properly vet job applicants or hiring underqualified staff.
- Failing to properly train staff on best practices and emergency response techniques.
- Not ensuring that staff act on a strict schedule when monitoring residents.
- Not implementing clear, comprehensive caregiving plans for each resident of the nursing home.
- Not checking in regularly with caregiving staff to stay abreast of potential health risks to residents.
- Failing to maintain the proper number of staff on duty at all times, as understaffing is common in nursing homes (according to PBS reporting) and is a great threat to residents’ safety
If administrators make decisions that put residents at risk, there is a good chance that direct caregiving staff will also fall short of their duties to residents.
Direct Caregivers’ Duty to Your Loved One
Caregivers are important in ensuring safety in nursing homes, and their failures can directly result in serious injury or death. Caregivers may be negligent if they:
- Fail to properly monitor each resident in a consistent, timely, and thorough manner.
- Do not adhere to predetermined caregiver schedules.
- Do not conduct in-person checkups.
- Do not conduct regular, thorough cleanings and welfare checks.
Some specific behaviors can lead to an increased risk of choking. These include:
- Not placing residents in an upright position before feeding them.
- Failing to cut up food into small sizes to reduce the risk of choking.
- Failing to assist the resident as necessary during feeding.
- Rushing the resident as they eat.
- Not understanding each resident’s individual risks of choking.
If your loved one died from choking in a nursing home, and administrators, caregivers, or both acted in a way that was not consistent with best practices, your family could be eligible for financial awards and a nursing home lawyer that specializes in choking deaths could help.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-934-6555
A Choking Death Nursing Home Lawyer Can Help You Bring a Negligence Case
Losing a loved one is a devastating life event and knowing that somebody failed to protect your loved one from choking can be devastating. A nursing home lawyer can help you hold the liable party responsible by:
- Meeting with you to document your account of what occurred.
- Initiating legal action immediately so that you can comply with relevant statutes of limitation.
- Helping you identify the liable parties in your case.
- Alerting the nursing home to your impending legal action and requesting cooperation to interview administrators, staff, and other residents where appropriate.
- Collecting available evidence of the incident, such as security videotape and witness accounts.
- Handling all legal responsibilities necessary to obtain an award.
If the nursing home is liable for your loved one’s death, then your family may be eligible to collect financial awards for your losses.
Call Our Team Today
Our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm aims to ensure that your family is able to collect any financial awards you are eligible for while holding the responsible parties accountable. Call our team today at (800) 201-3999 to discuss your case and to find out how a choking death nursing home lawyer can help.
You will pay nothing up front, nothing out of pocket, and nothing unless we secure an award on your behalf.