When we move our loved one into a nursing facility we trust that they will be properly and lovingly cared for. Nursing homes should provide quality care and protection according to the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Such was not the case for one man, who died after allegedly choking due to lack of supervision in a nursing home. The man was a resident of Norridge Gardens, LLC when he developed severe pressure ulcers and ultimately choked on food. The lawsuit was filed in Cook County by the man’s daughter. The suit claims that the nursing home was negligent and failed to properly assist the man during meals.
Asphyxiation and Pneumonia
Choking is a real potential problem in nursing homes. Elderly people are more prone to choking for a number of reasons. They may have difficulty swallowing due to lack of saliva, they may have dental or denture problems, they could have physical conditions that make eating difficult, or they may take medications that could contribute to eating problems. When a person does not swallow properly while eating, foods can be inhaled, causing a blockage of the airway, leading to lack of oxygen. Even if the person seems to recover from the incident there could be ramifications due to food or liquid in the lungs. This can cause pneumonia. Because of the dangers of choking, nursing home staff must be attentive when residents eat or drink.
Prevention of Choking
Choking is certainly preventable. Some patients are more susceptible to choking than others and these people must be more carefully supervised. Nursing homes may not always provide enough supervision because of understaffing, lack or training, poor management, or a number of other reasons. The types of foods provided to elderly patients can increase the risk of choking. Some food items should be avoided in patients where there is a known medical disorder. Residents need to be assisted while eating, especially in cutting up foods into smaller sizes. Only small bites should be fed, allowing enough time between for proper chewing and swallowing.
Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing homes are required by law to provide a high level of care to residents. This includes monitoring residents when required and ensuring that they receive medical care when necessary. In this case, the man had choked on some food and should have immediately been medically examined and treated. Without immediate medical attention the man suffered serious complications. Additionally, in this case the man also developed severe pressure ulcers.
Pressure ulcers should not occur in a nursing home and when they do it is likely a sign of negligence. Pressure ulcers, also called bedsores, can progress and worsen, causing infections that are often difficult to treat. The nursing home in this instance allegedly was careless and as a result, the man died. Victims of nursing home neglect and their families are often left with large medical expenses and some lose their lives. These costs and other expenses should be paid by the negligent party – in this case the nursing home. If your loved one suffered serious injury because of nursing home neglect, contact Levin & Perconti to review your case.
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