One very serious form of elder abuse or neglect that an elderly person may suffer from is choking. Choking injuries can happen in both assisted living facilities and nursing homes. The National Safety Council has found that choking is the fourth most common cause of death from unintentional injury. In addition, 56% of the 5,051 Americans who died as a result of a choking injury in 2015 were older than 74 years of age.
There is a greater risk of sustaining a choking injury for the elderly population in our country. There are a few different reasons why these individuals suffer from greater risk. One of the reasons they are more at risk for a choking injury is due to aging and the development of dysphagia. Dysphagia is the term for difficulty with swallowing that is age-related. One of the reasons someone may develop dysphagia is that they are losing muscle strength in their throat and mouth. With weakened muscle strength, it becomes difficult to swallow hard or dry foods.
Another reason why there is a greater risk of choking injury for elderly people than the average population is due to the onset of degenerative diseases that affect their ability to swallow. One example of this is Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, an elderly person may also have dry mouth as a result of certain medications they must take for any number of reasons. With dry mouth, there may be higher odds of suffering a choking injury.
Dentures are more commonly used in the elderly population. The use of dentures may cause difficulty with swallowing or may cause other issues in their mouths. Elderly persons are also more likely to have suffered strokes than the general population. For those who have been impacted by a stroke, there may be a greater risk of suffering a choking injury since the muscles affected by the stroke may have been weakened.
All nursing home staff and caregivers should be aware of the common signs and symptoms that are associated with choking. These signs and symptoms include:
Choking injuries can lead to serious and devastating consequences, including death. A choking injury may result in severe brain damage if oxygen has been cut off from the brain. It is vital for nursing home staff to take precautions to protect their residents from suffering injuries from choking.
The Peck Law Group has multiple offices throughout the state of California. One of our many elder neglect attorneys can you assist you with your case, in many areas, including (but not limited to):
If you or a loved one has been injured due to suffering a choking injury while living in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you may be eligible for compensation for their negligence. Contact us today at The Peck Law Group to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.
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