A mechanical soft diet is a physician-ordered diet which is ordered in a nursing home for residents who have difficulty with chewing or swallowing. It is ordered as a safety precaution to help prevent choking accidents in nursing homes.
Typically, the condition which necessitates the mechanical soft diet is diagnosed by a speech therapist. Typically, the speech therapist is an outside health care professional who is seen on order of the attending doctor after a request from the nursing home staff. Diagnoses such as dysphagia, Parkinson’s disease, pocketing of food, and other disorders will justify the entry of an order for a mechanical soft diet.
Once an order for a mechanical soft diet is entered, care planning should be done regarding the resident’s diet and choking risk. The resident should only be fed foods that are consistent with the diet order. This will include things such as ground meet, soft breads and dairy products, and fruits or vegetables which are soft in consistency and have been cut into small enough portions that they can be easily swallowed with minimal chewing and little swallowing effort. Failing to follow the prescribed diet order can place the resident at risk for a choking accident.
When a resident is placed on a mechanical soft diet, this does not relieve the nursing home of its obligation to supervise the resident at meal times. This is most often done by placing the resident at a “feeder table” where there is an aide on hand to assist the resident in case of an emergency. Failing to supervise a resident at risk of choking during meals is a legitimate basis for a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit.
Our experienced Chicago nursing home lawyers are ready to help families whose loved ones have been injured or killed as a result of poor care in a nursing home. Contact us to better understand what occurred, why it occurred, and what your rights are. There is no charge for the initial call or meeting and we do not charge any fees or costs if we do not get a settlement or verdict on your behalf.