Choking is a very serious form of elderly abuse or neglect. A choking event can occur while an elderly person is in the care of someone else, whether it is a caregiver, a nursing home, or an assisted living facility. The National Safety Council ranks choking as the fourth most common cause of an unintentional injury death. Elderly individuals have a higher risk of suffering a choking injury as compared to the general population. In 2015, 5,051 people died from a choking injury. Of these deaths, 56% of the victims were over the age of 74.
Sadly, elderly individuals are at a greater risk of suffering a choking injury. One of the reasons for this higher risk is a condition called dysphagia, which is associated with aging. Dysphagia is the medical term for a condition involving age-related difficulty with swallowing. This condition tends to occur in individuals who experience a loss of muscle strength in the mouth and throat, which makes it hard for the elderly person to swallow hard or dry foods.
Another reason for this elevated risk of choking injuries is because elderly individuals are more likely to be suffering from a degenerative disease that impacts their ability to swallow. One example of such a disease is Parkinson’s disease. Also adding to this risk, an elderly person may experience dry mouth as a result of taking certain medications they need for other conditions. This tends to lead to a greater chance of suffering a choking incident.
Additionally, elderly individuals are more likely to have dentures that may cause problems within their mouth, in particular, difficulty swallowing. For eldering individuals who have suffered from strokes, it seems there may be an increased risk of suffering a choking injury because of the muscles affected by the stroke.
There are some indicators and signs you can look for that are associated with choking. It is crucial that nursing home staff and caregivers are adequately trained to watch for these indicators. These signs and indicators include the following:
Choking injuries can be extremely serious, with consequences that range from a minor and treatable injury to death. These injuries are particularly dangerous because choking can cause serious brain damage as a result of the oxygen being cut off from a person’s brain. It is essential to take the proper precautions to help prevent nursing home and assisted living facility residents from suffering from choking injuries.
One of the main reasons that choking injuries occur in nursing homes is due to inadequate staffing, which results in the inability to provide proper care to the residents. Inexperience, along with insufficient staff training, may also contribute to a resident’s choking injury. These kinds of situations are not uncommon, and they often occur due to negligence on behalf of the nursing home or assisted living facility.
With multiple offices throughout California, The Peck Law Group’s elder neglect attorneys can you assist you with your case, including (but not limited to):
If you or a loved one have suffered a choking injury due to the negligence of someone else, including a nursing home facility or assisted living facility, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our attorneys at The Peck Law Group today to schedule a consultation to discuss your potential elder neglect choking case.
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