How To Minimise Choking for Residents

March, 2018

Choking is the second most common preventable cause of death in Australian aged care facilities. In Victoria alone, there were 89 choking deaths between 2000 and 2012, and adults over 85yrs accounted for the majority of deaths.

Choking has the potential to cause brain injury and death due to cardiac arrest within minutes. It is therefore essential that there are strategies in place to minimise the risk of choking for all residents.

Residential Aged Care Choking Deaths

In December 2017, Monash University published a paper which outlines 104 recommendations to reduce the risk of injury-related deaths in Australian residential aged care services:
Ibrahim, J. 2017. Recommendations for prevention of injury-related deaths in residential aged care services. Monash University: Southbank.

The report is based on systematic literature reviews, a retrospective case series studies of deaths, expert consultation forums and follow up surveys. It covers 7 topics – choking, medication, physical restraint, resident-to-resident aggression, respite, suicide, and unexplained absence.

With respect to choking, the report makes 20 recommendations which cover the areas of care planning, dysphagia screening, communication, model of care, during choking incident and post choking incident processes.

Examples include the need for specific and detailed care plans which are to be evaluated every 6 months, using screening tools for identifying residents with dysphagia, reviewing models of care, practice drills for choking, and staff education.

The Food Solutions team are all highly competent in the assessment and management of residents with dysphagia and are keen to assist you in minimising choking risk for all residents.

Food Solutions provide the following services:

  • Best practice dysphagia assessment and management
  • Education sessions that can be tailored to the needs of your staff, which cover a broad variety of topics including choking management, from toolbox to full day programs
  • Online dysphagia training sessions
  • Education and guidance in the implementation of dysphagia screening tools
  • Development and implementation of clear communication systems such as care plans and kitchen records
  • Modified diet and thickened fluid posters to provide a clear visual portrayal of how meals should look as well as a concise description of the current Australian Standards
    ‘Nutrition’ – a comprehensive book which covers all diets relevant to aged care including modified meals
  • Meal and fluid audits to ensure appropriate consistencies are being served

Please contact us on 1300 850 246 if you require further information.

Dietitians Australia

Don’t let your residents or budget experience the side effects of malnutrition or dysphagia.
Call us on 1300 850 246 or email and request a call back.

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