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Regulator suggests ways to prevent choking deaths

The body which regulates health and social care services in Northern Ireland has made recommendations aimed at preventing choking deaths.

It follows the deaths of 31 people since 2016 - 10 of whom died in the last 15 months.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) review found a "clear and urgent" need to improve the "quality and safety" of care.

People at higher risk of choking include those who have had a stroke. It also includes older people and those with mental health or learning disabilities.

The key recommendations include enhanced training for staff, shorter waiting times for assessment by speech and learning therapy and better communication between staff.

RQIA chief executive Briege Donaghy said the vast majority of people who died from choking were known to have a swallowing issue and many had a care plan in place.

"However, choking incidents may occur due to failures in communication of the care plan and when people are inadvertently provided with, or are able to access food and drink that is not suitable or safe for them."

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Source: BBC News, 19 May 2022


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