Last year we established that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are not able to report on the number of choking incidents or deaths that occur across any of the areas that they are responsible for.
Dechoker UK commissioned the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to look at the number of recorded deaths in England & Wales where ‘choking’ was recorded on the Death Certificate and also the place of their recorded death.
The data shows that over a four year period (2014-2017) an average of 69 care and nursing home residents died from choking related incidents.
To put that into context, nearly 6 residents die every month whilst in care and nursing homes in England & Wales which makes it the biggest cause of unnatural death in the sector.
Whilst these figures may seem high, they are also likely to be much higher than reported.
This is due to the way the place a person’s death is recorded. If they are taken to hospital and die later they will not be included in the above figures.
Taking 2017 as the most recent year, 291 choking deaths were recorded in hospital. This excludes the 137 people who died in their own home.
A severe airway obstruction occurs when the airway becomes blocked with food or other object and is likely to lead to further complications before death. Cardiac Arrest is a common result of choking, with hypoxic brain injury also often listed on a death certificate or coroner’s report.