The bright yellow boxes containing a Dechoker device have become a familiar and welcome site in thousands of care homes throughout the UK in recent years.
Now, after the publication by an NHS Trust demonstrating the effectiveness of the Airway Clearance Device the company behind the life-saving equipment are set to save even more lives in the adult-care sector.
The peer-reviewed study was carried out by the Innovation and Research Team at the Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, who examined 27 incidents in adult care homes where a Dechoker ACD had been used in a choking emergency.
Through interviews with care staff and exploring the circumstances around each incident, researchers were able to build up a comprehensive picture of the Dechoker and how it performs in a real-life choking situation.
In all 27 of the incidents examined by researchers, the Dechoker demonstrated it cleared the airway sufficiently to allow the person to breathe again.
In 21 of the cases (78%) the person choking did not require a visit to Accident & Emergency following the choking incident. Of the remaining residents, 4 were back in their home the same day – removing the unwelcome need for an overnight stay in hospital.
The study reviews current guidance for care homes around the management of a choking individual, and cites a shocking statistic that suggests the mortality rate for an elderly person who suffers from a severe choking incident is over 50%
Choking is recorded as the underlying cause or contributory factor in approximately 400 deaths in England and Wales every year, a significant number of which occur in the adult care sector. And yet, we still rely on human intervention to deliver first aid techniques developed over 60 years ago.
Wrapping your arms around a person’s waist, gripping your hands together and pulling upwards may work in practice. However, Dr Heimlich clearly did not have a 76-year-old with Alzheimer’s in mind when he came up with his ‘manoeuvre’ back in the 1960’s.
With the NHS study now published via the well-respected frontiers Journal, Dechoker aim to continue increasing awareness of choking in the adult care sector.
You can access the study here