Choking, Asphyxiation, and Aspiration

Choking on or aspirating food or liquids is a source of danger for nursing home residents.  When residents suffer certain illnesses, such as a stroke or head injury, dementia, or who have recently been receiving treatment through a ventilator, they may be at greater risk for choking or aspiration because their ability to swallow or breathe is reduced.

Choking can lead to death, aspiration pneumonia, or a brain injury from lack of oxygen.

Nursing homes are required to conduct appropriate assessments to determine if someone is at risk for swallowing issues.  Speech therapy services at a nursing home will conduct swallow studies as to the extent a resident needs assistance with eating.  Speech therapy will then make recommendations to the nursing home staff regarding the resident.  Accurate and detailed communication with speech therapy and putting in place individualized precautionary measures, or interventions, are necessary to prevent your loved one from choking or aspirating.

The facility must have enough staff to properly assist and supervise residents during mealtimes based on their needs.  Nursing homes must also have the proper emergency equipment and be trained in how to assist residents who are choking.

Contact Schall at Law if you or a loved one has sustained an injury as a result of choking in a nursing home, assisted living or group home.