Nursing home administrators and staff must take steps to protect residents from the risk of choking. If your loved one died by choking while living in a nursing home, your family may be eligible for financial awards paid for by the nursing home.
Nursing Homes Must Implement High Standards of Care
Those who hold positions in a nursing home have a responsibility to keep residents safe. When nursing homes do not meet this high standard of care, residents are at greater risk of serious injury or death.
Nursing Homes Have a Duty to Prevent Choking in Elderly Residents
Choking is a common problem for vulnerable populations in need of extra care, like the elderly. According to the National Safety Council, of the 5,051 people who died by choking in the United States in 2015, 2,848 of the victims were over the age of 74. There are many common risk factors in the elderly that may lead to choking.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School reports that choking risk factors include:
- Medication side effects like dry mouth
- Neurological conditions like Parkinson’s
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Poor oral hygiene
Many risk factors for choking are not preventable or curable. With this in mind, it is the duty of nursing home staff to know each resident’s individual risk factors for choking, and to take special care with those who are at a heightened risk of choking.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-201-3999
A Nursing Home Can Be Negligent and Contribute to Choking Deaths
There are several ways that nursing home administrators and caregiving staff may have put your loved one at an increased risk of choking. Administrators make the big-picture decisions affecting nursing homes, and they may have acted negligently if they:
- Failed to maintain an adequate number of staff on duty at all times, a common problem in nursing homes (according to PBS) that directly compromises residents’ safety.
- Did not properly monitor residents, both through video and a rigid schedule for direct individual care.
- Failed to vet employees extensively before hiring.
- Failed to ensure that every employee knows how to reduce the risk of choking, and how to respond if choking does occur.
- Failed to instill a culture of accountability and problem-reporting among staff.
We can hold administrators and staff responsible for a choking death if they failed to implement best care practices or were derelict in their caregiving duties. Staffers may be negligent and increase the risk of your loved one choking if they:
- Failed to sit your loved one in an upright position before feeding them.
- Did not adequately cut up your loved one’s food before feeding it to them.
- Did not properly advise your loved one to eat slowly and chew their food before swallowing.
- Rushed your loved one as they ate.
- Did not recognize the signs of choking they learned in caregiving training.
- Did not immediately respond to your loved one’s choking.
- Failed to alert others to the choking.
- Did not administer emergency response practices once they realized your loved one was choking.
Caregivers accept a high level of responsibility when they agree to care for your loved one. If administrators or staff failed to live up to their responsibility for consistent, comprehensive, and responsive care, then they could be liable for paying financial awards to affected families.
A Lawyer Can Assist You in Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
If your loved one died from choking while living in a nursing home, the home may be responsible to pay your family compensation. A lawyer can help you begin the legal process by meeting with your family. From there, we will:
- Initiate legal action immediately to ensure that your case abides by any relevant statutes of limitation.
- Document your accounts of what happened, or what staff told you had occurred that resulted in your loved one’s death.
- Alert the nursing home to impending litigation and request cooperation with our investigation.
- Interview nursing home administrators, staff, and residents to collect firsthand accounts of the conditions that led to your loved one choking, where possible and appropriate.
- Review any available evidence of the incident, such as videotapes and incident reports.
- Review the condition of care in the nursing home to conclude whether any negligence occurred.
- Handle all legal responsibilities necessary to secure a judgment or settlement.
- Protect your family’s rights and loved one’s memory throughout the legal process.
Your family could be eligible for financial awards covering losses such as funeral costs, pain and suffering, and punitive damages against the nursing home.
Call Our Team Today to Learn More About Choking Death Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes
Our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm wants to help your family pursue the justice and closure that you deserve. Call our team today at (800) 201-3999 to discuss your case. Our clients pay nothing out of pocket, nothing upfront, and we only collect a fee if we secure a judgment or settlement on your behalf.