Many nursing home residents in Orange County and throughout Southern California, as well as at assisted living facilities in the area, require help with activities of daily living (or ADLs). Activities of daily living include things like getting dressed, bathing, using the bathroom, and eating. Help with ADLs does not need to be provided by a nurse, but families should be able to expect that their elderly loved ones will have the assistance with these activities that they need at any nursing home or assisted living facility in Orange County. When a facility is negligent or when an employee fails to adequately assist a resident with one of these ADLs, the resident can suffer serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries. When it comes to eating, there is a serious risk of choking among older adults who need assistance.
What do you need to know about choking hazards among older adults and facility liability for these injuries? Our Orange County nursing home neglect attorneys can say more.
Choking Hazards and Older Adults
When we think about choking risks and choking hazards, most of us think about very young children. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that children under the age of 1 are at particularly high risk of choking on common household objects or becoming the victims of a choking-related death due to objects like large food pieces, coins, and other small nonfood objects. Yet, as the National Safety Council (NSC) underscores, across all age groups, “choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death,” and nearly half of the people who die from choking every year are older adults aged 75 and up.
What causes choking among older adults? In nearly all cases, the answer is food. As the NSC explains, “living alone and having dentures or difficulty swallowing can increase risk.” The Department of Aging cites the following as the most common causes of choking among seniors:
- Wearing dentures;
- Eating foods that are not within the boundaries of a special diet;
- Drinking alcohol before meals or during meals;
- Eating too quickly;
- Attempting to swallow large pieces of food;
- Walking and eating; and
- Talking or laughing while eating.
Liability for Choking Injuries in Southern California Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities must provide the appropriate level of care for residents based on each individual resident’s needs. When a resident requires assistance with ADLs, including eating, and does not receive adequate assistance, the facility may be liable. Whether an employee intentionally avoids providing this assistance or is negligent in providing this assistance, or the facility is understaffed and thus does not have enough employees to provide this assistance, it may be possible to file a claim for a choking injury or death.
To determine liability for a choking injury or death, you should discuss your case with an attorney. It is important to keep in mind that the National Council on Aging (NCOA) includes passive neglect as a form of nursing home abuse and makes clear that liability can exist when a facility’s negligence results in harm.
Contact Our Orange County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
If you have any questions about filing a nursing home abuse claim or if you need help with an elderly loved one’s choking injury or death, you should get in touch with an experienced Orange County nursing home neglect lawyer as soon as you can. Contact the Walton Law Firm today.
See Related Blog Posts: