Choking Incidents in Nursing Home Patients

Many elderly or disabled patients in nursing homes are on special diets or cannot chew their food normally. When caregivers fail to observe these special needs, patients may choke, causing severe distress, brain damage, even wrongful death.

Choking May Arise from Negligent Conditions

Many doctors prescribe special diets to ensure elderly patients are getting the nutrients they require. Often these diets will also exclude certain foods or substances that the patient cannot chew, process, or digest, or that may trigger an allergic reaction. Alternatively, many elderly people find it difficult to chew hard or dry food; some will need to be spoonfed or fed through the use of a feeding tube system.

Nursing home caregivers are responsible for administering nourishment to elderly patients in a manner consistent with doctor prescriptions as well as in accordance with their own knowledge and observations of the patient. Patients must be provided the diets they require; they must also be provided with assistance if they cannot chew or process food on their own. If caregivers fail to act on doctors orders or else act in a way that causes an elderly person to choke, leading to physical harm or death, their employer may face legal action and be held liable for damages.

Common causes of choking in elderly nursing home patients:

  • Failure to observe dietary restrictions
  • Failure to prepare food properly
  • Failure to use feeding tubes when appropriate
  • Improper use of feeding tubes and other feeding devices
  • Failure to monitor patients while eating
  • Inadequate training of prevention techniques

Pennsylvania & New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

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Nursing homes have a mandate to provide a reasonable standard of care to residents under their supervision. Choking incidents are completely avoidable, and often indicate caregivers are neglecting those under their care. When a nursing home or care facility fails to uphold their mandated standard of care, including failing to prevent choking, causing injury, brain damage, or wrongful death, that facility may be liable for damages.

No matter how vigilant we are, we cannot watch our loved ones all the time. For those with an elder who has suffered neglect or abuse while under the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility, please contact us immediately to protect your legal rights. You can reach our team of elder abuse attorneys toll-free at 1-855-462-3330 or by using our online contact form.