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The Rise of Anti-Choking Devices in Nursing Homes

May 03, 2019

The Rise of Anti-Choking Devices in Nursing Homes

One of the biggest impacts we believe The Dechoker can have on the medical world is within nursing homes, where elderly people experience choking emergencies at an alarmingly high rate. In Europe, the popularity of The Dechoker device is already on the rise, beginning to stem the tide of choking deaths within this vulnerable population.

Elderly people are at a much higher risk of choking than a typical adult. Older people often produce less saliva or have dental issues that make fully chewing difficult, and they may also experience conditions that affect their ability to swallow, such as Parkinson’s disease or the after-effects of a stroke. A report from the United Kingdom in summer 2018 showed 68 choking deaths in nursing homes a year in England and Wales alone, and the actual number may be much higher because many victims later die in a hospital.

Now though, The Dechoker, our innovative first-aid device, has started to become commonplace in care facilities in the UK and Spain, and we have received dozens of reports of lives saved. In many of these reports, trained care staff first attempted standard emergency choking treatments such as back slaps to no avail before turning to The Dechoker and finding success. In one case in the UK, for instance, caretakers performed back slaps but were unable to try abdominal thrusts on an 85-year-old man because of his size. Fortunately, they were then able to dislodge the food he was choking on using The Dechoker.

Nursing home staff also reported that the safety device was “easy to use” and an “indispensable” addition to their facilities. In nearly all the reported cases, victims were choking on food that had been prepared by the knowledgeable facility staff, and some victims had previously been deemed at a low risk of choking. Still, these emergencies occurred.

When we hear stories like these, we are so proud that our device was there for these choking victims. Standard emergency treatments were not working in these cases, and we are just thrilled that staff had another alternative to try.

These success cases make it clear that The Dechoker should be a standard piece of equipment in every nursing home around the world. Any place where a group of the most vulnerable choking victims are gathered together should have every life-saving option available. Not only does this include nursing homes, but also schools and daycare facilities filled with another group of people at a high risk of choking — young children.

Just as the defibrillator has in recent years become commonplace in every public space to help in heart health emergencies, The Dechoker could also become a new standard of care not just in nursing homes, but everywhere.

You can learn more about The Dechoker and how it works here.

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