How to Reduce Nursing Home Choking Accidents

choking in nursing homesChoking hazards in nursing homes can affect loved ones when the staff has inadequate training and is unaware of how to prevent these situations from occurring. Through proper training, it is possible to protect the safety of loved ones and minimize the potential risk for injury.

If your loved one has suffered a choking accident due to nursing home negligence, Phillips Law Group’s Phoenix nursing home abuse lawyers are prepared to assist with your claim. Schedule a free, no obligation consultation so we can review your case and evaluate the legal options available to you.

Causes of Choking Accidents

Many choking accidents in nursing homes stem from the lack of care and attention that the residents need. Residents who have difficulty swallowing should be given an individualized treatment plan that outlines their dietary restrictions and the medication and supervision required for adequate care. It is the responsibility of the nursing home and its staff to identify and minimize the risk of choking accidents.

Other causes of choking accidents generally occur due to the following:

Neglect is one of the primary reasons for choking accidents in nursing homes. The staff may fail to properly monitor eating and drinking habits and behavior. In other situations, the lack of attention to dietary and medical needs could lead to a choking hazard. Dehydration from neglect will cause a problem with swallowing. Breathing tubes, medication and respiratory equipment improperly maintained could block airways.

Risk Factors of Choking Accidents

For nursing home residents, there are several risk factors that may be present that can increase the likelihood of a choking accident. It takes 50 pairs of muscles and nerves to swallow food and there may be other underlying conditions that can make it difficult for certain residents to be able to swallow food. These risk factors include:


Residents can have swallowing issues because of the wear and tear on their throat muscles. They may also have difficulty breathing without assistance. Breathing tubes and clogged airways can restrict how a resident swallows and may cause choking.

Frail or Weakened State

Individuals who are frail may have problems with their respiratory systems. This can lead to problems with swallowing and may restrict the airway. The more impaired the resident is through illness or certain conditions, the harder it is for him or her to take medication, food or drink easily. To combat these potential issues, properly trained staff members must be available to provide adequate care and assistance.

Improper Treatment

Choking hazards and injury often occur when the patient needs medications or even food and these items enter the windpipe or cannot progress down the esophagus without help. The restrictions to the esophagus, windpipe and lungs could harm the respiratory system, which may increase the possibility of injury. Other treatments require tubes in the throat that require frequent maintenance.

Choking Prevention in Nursing Homes

Preventing choking accidents in nursing homes starts with learning how to stop injuries before they begin. This involves removing choking hazards and understanding the risks. Signs of possible choking include coughing, gagging and when the resident starts clutching at his or her throat. Education on the Heimlich Maneuver and first aid are also important.

If a resident is choking and passes out or cannot breathe, having someone with knowledge of CPR could save the resident’s life. Staff with training and proper education in handling elderly residents can help minimize the risk of choking accidents.

Speak with a Phoenix Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Now

If you suspect your loved one has suffered at the hands of a negligent nursing home, our legal team is here for you. We will thoroughly investigate your case and analyze all aspects of the claim. We will collect records and speak with the staff at the nursing home, so you do not have to.

We offer a free, no-obligation consultation. During this initial consultation, we will discuss what happened and who may be responsible for your loved one’s injuries.

If you decide to retain our services, we will work on a contingency fee basis, so we will not get paid unless we are successful in recovering compensation for your claim.

Contact us today at 602-222-2222 to get started on your claim.