People with learning disabilities such as Tony are at significant risk of choking.
The incidence of fatal choking incidents of people with learning disability is almost 100 times greater than in the general population1.
There were 605 reports of choking-related incidents involving adults with learning disabilities over a 3 year period in the UK2.
– 58% took place at mealtimes
and when looking at where they took place;
- 41% in care homes
- 58% in inpatient settings
- 1 % outside either setting
42% of 674 adult service-users with learning disability had one or more choking episodes3.
There was a significantly greater occurrence of choking among people with;
- more severe learning disability
- with Down syndrome
- people who had an incomplete dentition or
- were taking a greater number of psychotropic drugs
It’s really important that the speech and language therapist swallow recommendations are followed, that the dysphagia care plan is up to date, and that every single person who supports someone with dysphagia is aware of the recommendations.
The old National Patient Safety Agency produced excellent guidance especially for supporting people with learning disability. It can be found here.
The full story on Tony Wilkinson can be found here.
How to help someone who is choking can be found here.
Our training gives you the theory and practical support you need to ensure that none of the people in your care ever choke to death because the swallow recommendations and their rationale were not fully understood.
Ask us about our training here.