As seniors age, they lose muscle strength throughout their body, including the loss of strength in muscles that assist with swallowing. Other seniors suffer from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease actually causes sufferers to lose the ability to remember how to swallow correctly.
Strokes, brain injuries, and other neurological disorders can also result in an elderly resident of a nursing home remaining unable to correctly swallow medication. In other cases, elderly residents must take their medication with food; otherwise, they will suffer from stomach issues such as indigestion or reflux.
In all of these cases, a nursing home has a duty and responsibility to ensure that elderly residents receive the proper amount of food or water with their medication in order for it to effectively treat their medical conditions. If residents are not given enough food or water with the medication, they may choke or suffer additional injuries.
Providing Water with Medication
According to the National Institute on Aging, nursing homes should always have a plan of care for every single nursing home resident, which will include information regarding any dysphagia, or swallowing issue, that a resident suffers from. According to Clinical Interventions in Aging, dysphagia is one of the largest factors related to choking in the elderly and can occur simply due to weak muscles, or due to the body not remembering how to actually swallow as a result of neurodegenerative issues.
If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home, make sure that they always receive water with their medication when appropriate to help them swallow their prescriptions and ensure that they receive the proper treatments for their medical conditions.
A resident’s plan of care should always receive consistent updating and continual assessment to make a determination regarding dysphagia. In some cases, choking due to the inability to swallow medication results directly from the resident not receiving water to help them actually swallow the medication.
Providing Food with Medication
Some medications must be taken with food as they are irritants to the stomach and can cause additional injury or damage. Food oftentimes protects the stomach from the full impact and irritation particular medicines cause.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure that a nursing home resident takes the proper food with their medication. As the United States Food and Drug Administration indicates, some foods interact negatively with different medications causing serious injuries or even death in some cases. Nursing homes should make certain that the medications that residents must take with foods are actually the proper foods with no interactions.
Nursing Home Neglect
The reasons that some families make the difficult decision to place their elderly seniors in a nursing home often revolves around the fact that they are simply unable to continue to care for them properly. They expect a caregiver to provide constant monitoring during the delivery of proper medications with appropriate food and water.
When nursing homes remain understaffed and overworked, the employees may not take the time and care to properly administer medication to all of its residents. When residents are not given enough food or water with medication, resulting in choking, additional injuries, or death, the nursing home’s failure classifies as neglect.
What To Do if Your Elderly Loved One Did not Receive Enough Food or Water with Their Medication
If you discover that your elderly loved one in a nursing home was not given enough food or water with their medication, causing an injury, a medical condition, or death, you should immediately contact the management of the nursing home to report the incident.
You can consult Adult Protective Services or even law enforcement, depending on the facts and circumstances. If you believe nursing home neglect occurred, you should consider removing your elderly loved one from the nursing home for their own safety.
How a Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Lawyer Can Help
If your elderly loved one suffered injuries from not receiving enough food or water with their medication, consider contacting Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. Learn how a nursing home neglect and abuse attorney may be able to help you receive compensation and justice on behalf of your loved one. Contact us at (800) 842-6336.