Choking poses serious hazards as we age. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, over half of the choking deaths in 2015 occurred in victims over the age of 74. As such, it’s important for nursing homes to take every measure possible to mitigate the risk of choking among their residents.
Below, we discuss five ways that nursing homes can prevent choking.
#1. Track the Food Served to Residents
Every nursing home should have a meal plan catered to each resident, and remove any items that the resident is allergic to or that is difficult for the resident to eat. These meal plans should be regularly checked and updated in order to ensure that residents are eating what they should.
#2. Make Food Easier to Swallow
Food given to nursing home residents should be prepared in a way that makes it easier to eat. For example, most food should be puréed or cut in julienne style so that it’s easier for elderly residents to swallow.
#3. Add Agents to Certain Food and Drinks
Adding a thickening agent to certain food and liquids can make these items easier for elderly residents to swallow. Gum-based or starch-based agents, for example, can increase the density of the food and make swallowing easier.
#4. Supervise Residents While They’re Eating
Nursing home staff must supervise residents while they’re eating and keep an eye out for the following warning signs of choking:
- A panicked look on the face
- Coughing or gagging
- Hand signals like pointing at the throat
- Inability to speak
#5. Make Residents Eat Slower if Necessary
Eating quickly is a top cause of choking in all adults. Therefore, it’s vital for nursing home staff to ask residents to slow their eating from time to time. This can help prevent choking and also make digestion easier for the senior.
Was Your Loved One Harmed in Their Nursing Home? Contact Us Today
If your loved one was harmed in their nursing home from choking or something else, our Baltimore nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys are prepared to fight for your family. We have significant experience in this area of the law, and we’re ready to put this experience to work for you.