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