If your loved one lives in a nursing home with substandard care practices, which may rise to the level of elder abuse, their risk of choking increases substantially.
The Importance of Following the Standard of Care
Maintaining a safe nursing home means complying with industry-wide standards that control the quality of care. Some basic tenets that well-run nursing homes abide by include:
- Ensuring an adequate number of staff members to monitor and care for patients.
- Providing safety equipment, such as handrails, restraints, and padding on surfaces where falls may occur.
- Ensuring patients receive adequate assistance when moving around the nursing home.
- Ensuring all staff members perform quality caregiving practices and are trained in emergency response procedures.
- Tending to all patients’ personal, health, and hygiene needs on a daily basis.
- Notifying families of any material developments that occur with their loved ones.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes do not live up to these basic standards of quality care, putting residents at greater risk of serious injuries. This lack of proper care fails to lower the risk of choking in nursing homes.
Substandard and Negligent Care Increase the Risk of Injury and Death
Consistent quality care in a nursing home setting decreases the odds that your loved one may succumb to choking, a serious injury, or death.
Forms of negligent care that could lead to a greater risk of choking include:
- Failing to properly position and monitor your loved one as they eats.
- Rushing your loved one as they eat. This can lead to unchewed or under-chewed food becoming lodged in the airway.
- Not knowing the proper emergency response procedures for choking residents.
Any potential failure on a caregiver’s part poses an increased risk of choking and subsequent damage to residents.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-934-6555
Signs That Somebody Is Choking
A caregiver may not recognize a choking incident immediately, so they must actively look for any symptom of choking and respond appropriately. Signs of choking include:
- A panicked look on their face.
- Grasping or pointing at their throat area.
- Inability to talk or make any decipherable noises.
- Unnatural noises indicating the airway is blocked.
- Blue or gray skin, lips, or face.
- Unnaturally flushed skin.
- Loss of consciousness.
If caregivers witness these symptoms, they must contact emergency medical personnel and proceed with emergency response techniques right away.
Emergency Response for Choking Victims
The first step in emergency choking response involves encouraging the person that is choking to cough. If this does not dislodge the object in their throat, proceed to the next step, which is to administer back blows by:
- Standing slightly behind and to the side of the person.
- Leaning their upper body forward, making it parallel with the ground.
- Placing a hand firmly on their upper chest.
- Administering five blows with the heel of your hand between their shoulder blades.
If these blows do not dislodge the object, begin administering the Heimlich maneuver, also known as abdominal thrusts, by:
- Standing behind the choking individual, wrapping your arms around their waist, and bending their upper body parallel to the ground.
- Closing your fist, placing it over their belly button, and grasping the closed fist with your other hand.
- Pulling firmly and swiftly inward and upward five times.
Repeat this process until emergency personnel arrives or until you dislodge the item.
A Lawyer May Help in a Nursing Home Negligence Case
If you believe the actions of nursing home staff or administrators may have contributed to your loved one’s choking incident, you could have grounds to collect financial awards.
A lawyer may help you by:
- Meeting with you and your loved one to document your accounts of what caused the choking, and whether the nursing had taken steps to lower the risk of choking.
- Determining if a caregiver initiated an immediate, appropriate response.
- Initiating legal action immediately to abide by relevant statutes of limitation.
- Interview staff members, administrators, and other residents where necessary.
- Handling all legal responsibilities necessary to pursue financial awards.
Our team at the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm aims to ensure that your loved one suffers no further harm. Call our team today at (800) 201-3999. Our clients pay nothing upfront or out of pocket, and we only take a fee if we secure awards in your favor.