Almost all instances of Choking Injuries in Nursing Homes Are Preventable
Choking is a common problem among nursing home and assisted living residents. When choking injuries occur, it often results in death or serious brain injury. Almost all choking injuries in nursing homes are preventable because the likelihood of certain patients choking is often known to the nursing home staff.
Many nursing homes maintain policies and procedures to prevent choking at their facility. These include policies regarding:
- The assessment or each patient/resident for choking risk;
- Development of a procedure to ensure that resident/patient is not given anything that may cause them to choke; and
- Rules regarding the continuing assessment of all patients regarding risks of choking.
Unfortunately, many facilities do not properly implement these plans and many patients/residents are harmed as a result. They fail to develop a comprehensive plan or they fail to adequately train their staff about how to implement it.
If your loved one has been injured in a choking incident at a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact my office for a free and confidential case evaluation.
Common Causes of Nursing Home Choking Injuries
Failure to Supervise Patients
The number one cause of choking in nursing homes is the failure of the nursing home to supervise patients/residents that are a known risk for choking;
No Assessment Policy to Evaluate Choking Risks
Secondary to that, failure to properly develop an assessment policy to evaluate each individual to determine whether they are at risk for choking;
Failure to Communicate Amongst Staff Re Patient’s at Risk for Choking
And last, another cause of preventable choking in nursing homes failure to communicate information about patients choking risk to all staff and ensure there are policies and procedures in place to ensure that relevant information about such risks is not overlooked by day-to-day staff
Failure to Identify Medications that Increase Risk of Choking
Some medications make it hard for patients to swallow. Medication assessment and evaluation is one of the most important tasks any nursing home or assisted living facility should have.
Anytime a medication is changed, evaluations of the medication and its risks should be documented and a plan developed to supervise the patient to ensure the risk does not materialize.
Some Choking Injuries Are Caused by Other Patients
Some choking is the result of assaults by other residents/patients. When this occurs, families are often confounded how it can occur. The answer is it should not.
Patient vs. patient assaults is a preventable occurrence. Many victim’s families initially believe that because another patient/resident engaged in the assault or choking that it is out of the control of the facility – that’s not true.
Nursing home facilities are required to assess patients for many risks – those include their risk of choking and their risk of assaulting other patients. Many times, the facility knew or should have known that the other patient had aggressive tendencies and should have been subject to increased supervision or transfer.
Unfortunately, Most Choking Cases Result in Death or Severe Brain Injury
Despite being very preventable, most choking incidents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities result in death or severe injury that substantially lowers the quality of life for the victim.
Victim’s family members deserve to understand what happened. In many cases, the choking incident was foreseeable and easily preventable.
Get The Answers You Deserve
If your family has been the victim of a choking incident in a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact my office.
I provide free consultations and only handle nursing home cases on a contingency basis. I can help your family get the justice they deserve and potentially prevent another person from suffering the same harm. Contact me today.