Swallowing, while a seemingly effortless task, requires the coordination of more than 50 muscles and nerves in your throat, chest and face. Unfortunately, many seniors- especially those who have suffered a stroke, who have Alzheimer’s or who suffer from other neurological conditions- may be unable to swallow their food safely.
When nursing homes admit patients, they have the obligation of providing reasonable care to those patients- which includes making sure that the patient has a diet that is safe and monitoring the patient’s eating. Unfortunately, nursing homes are sometimes negligent in fulfilling this duty, which can lead to choking and sometimes to death.
If you have had a choking incident and suffered injury as a result of a nursing home failing to monitor your diet and intake, or if you have lost a loved one in a choking accident in a nursing home, the nursing facility may be responsible for compensating you for losses. A Georgia nursing home abuse lawyer should be consulted for more information on taking action after a choking incident.
The Dangers of Choking Due to Marietta, Georgia Nursing Home Neglect
As part of their obligation to provide competent patient care and ensure patient safety, nursing homes should have a plan of care for each patient. This plan of care should detail dietary restrictions. To create a diet plan for nursing home patients, physicians or pathologists typically examine the patient to determine if dysphagia, or swallowing disorders, are present. Depending upon the results of the examination, varying levels of restriction may be used including:
- NPO or nothing per oral. These patients cannot swallow anything safely and must be fed through feeding tubes or other alternative methods.
- Pureed diets. When patients can safely swallow foods only without chewing, they may be restricted to a pureed diet with no chunks of food.
- Mechanically altered diet. A mechanically altered diet is a diet that has some texture but that is kept moist to prevent food from becoming lodged in the throat. This diet is appropriate for patients capable of some chewing.
- Advanced diet. Patients who have slight difficulties with chewing or swallowing may be prescribed an advanced diet, which means that they should be fed mainly soft foods and, typically, that their food should be cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Standard/regular diet. Patients without any swallowing or chewing restrictions can have a regular diet.
Nursing homes must follow dietary restrictions and must take care to ensure that patients get appropriate food and get the nutrition they need in a safe manner. If a nursing home is lax in making sure that a patient is only provided food that can be safely swallowed and if choking occurs as a result, the nursing home can become responsible for the consequences of the choking incident.
Getting Legal Help from a Marietta, Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Nursing homes have an important responsibility to care for the patients who are dependent upon them and who cannot care for themselves. When a nursing home fails to live up to their responsibility, they need to be held accountable. This means not only facing appropriate sanctions and fines from elder protection agencies, but also being accountable to the patient or family members for losses they cause.
Do You Suspect Your Loved One Is Being Subjected To Nursing Home Abuse?
If you believe your loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse you should speak with an experienced
nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 855.GA.INJURY or
404.991.5950 to schedule your free consultation.