Anyone can choke. Accidents happen, but what is a nursing home’s duty to prevent a choking accident from happening to your loved one?
Nursing Homes Have a Duty of Care for Each Resident
While anyone may be at risk of suffering a choking injury, many nursing home residents are at greater risk of choking than people in the general population. For example, people in nursing homes may be more likely to choke because they have difficulty swallowing. This may occur because of things such as dementia, neurological disorders, cancer, and the normal course of aging.
Nursing homes owe each resident in their facility a duty of care. This means that nursing homes should:
- Assess each resident’s risk of choking. This should be done during the initial intake and periodically to see if anything has changed.
- Develop a safe feeding plan for residents who may be at risk of choking. This may include monitoring a resident during eating or providing nutrition in such a way as to minimize the risk of choking.
- Monitor residents who are taking oral medications. Oral medications, like food, can create a choking hazard.
- Recognize the signs of choking and take prompt action to help a resident who is choking. Any staff member who interacts with patients should be trained in the correct first aid procedures.
Everyone who is involved with the feeding or delivery of medication for a specific resident should know about any individualized risks or special plans that are in place to protect the resident from choking.
What If Your Loved One Chokes in a Nursing Home?
If your loved one has suffered a choking injury in a nursing home, it is important to know why. A full investigation should be done so that your loved one’s rights and potential recovery can be protected. If your loved one choked because the nursing home breached its duty of care, then your loved one, or her survivors, may be able to take legal action against the nursing home and may pursue financial damages.
At Gray & White, our staff nurse and experienced nursing home injury lawyers can conduct a full investigation into why your loved one choked so that we can help your loved one or her estate make a fair recovery. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about whether your loved one’s nursing home violated its duty of care and caused your loved one to suffer a choking injury.