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Elderly Neglect – Choking

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Elderly Neglect – Choking

Choking is one serious form of elderly neglect or abuse that an elderly person may be subjected to while in the care of another. It can occur in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. According to the National Safety Council, choking is the fourth most common cause of unintentional injury death. Additionally, 56% of the 5,051 individuals who died from choking injuries in 2015 were older than the age of 74.

Unique Risks of Suffering a Choking Injury in the Elderly Population

The elderly population is at a greater risk of suffering a choking injury for a few different reasons. One of these reasons is associated with aging and called dysphagia. Dysphagia is a term for age-related difficulty with swallowing. It may occur due to a loss of muscle strength in the throat and the mouth, which in turn makes it difficult for the elderly person to swallow dry or hard foods.

Another reason why an elderly person is at a higher risk than the average individual for suffering a choking injury is because they may be suffering from a degenerative disease that affects their ability to swallow, like Parkinson’s disease. An elderly person may also experience dry mouth due to certain medications they are required to take, which can lead to a greater susceptibility of a choking event.

Elderly individuals are also more likely to have dentures, which can cause problems within their mouth, and create issues with swallowing. For those who have suffered strokes, there may be an increased risk of a choking injury due to the muscles affected by the stroke.

Signs and Symptoms of a Choking Event

There are some common signs and symptoms associated with choking that nursing home staff and caregivers should be aware of. These indicators include the following:

  • Gagging or coughing
  • A terrified look on the person’s face
  • Inability to speak
  • Pointing to their throat or waving their hands to capture your attention
  • Turning blue around the face and lips
  • Loss of consciousness

Protecting Nursing Home Residents from Choking Injuries

Choking injuries can have serious consequences, the most obvious of these being death. A choking injury may also cause severe brain damage due to oxygen being cut off from the brain. It is crucial to take precautions to help shield nursing home residents from potential choking injuries.

Choking injuries may occur in nursing homes due to inadequate staff available to provide proper care. Insufficient training and inexperience in nursing home staff members may also contribute to the choking injury of a resident.  These types of scenarios often come about due to negligence on the part 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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