Choking In The Care Sector

Choking in the care sector is often referred to as the “silent killer” and a carers worst fear. To understand why we must understand the risks around choking in the care sector and why the elderly/vulnerable community are at such high risk of choking.

Choking is one of the leading causes of accidental death in adults over the age of 65, this is due to many reasons and the most common are Dysphagia, lack of saliva from side effects due to medications being taken and physical disabilities where someone may rely on a wheelchair for every day activities.

In fact, people over 65 years of age have seven times higher risk for choking on food than children aged 1–4 years of age.

At LifeVac Europe we have trained 100’s of carers in the use of LifeVac for their care group/home whether this is for a care group roll out or training new colleagues for a new care home opening and on nearly every training session we always hear the same feedback “choking is one of our worst fears, especially if the person is in a wheelchair”. When someone is in a wheelchair the survival rate for choking drops drastically as they may not be able to receive abdominal thrusts or even back blows if the casualty is in a moulded wheelchair. Choking protocol is 70% effective when performed correctly in a perfect situation by a healthcare professional. As soon as one of these manoeuvres cannot be administered the 70% drops to nearly 40%. Up to 75 per cent of care home residents have dysphagia, which means they find it difficult to swallow, eat or drink.

In a choking emergency every second counts, you have roughly 3 minutes before the casualty will become unconscious, 6-10 minutes of oxygen starvation brain damage is probable and 10+ minutes of oxygen starvation the victim is likely to die.

When someone has a Neurological disorder such as Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease for example when a tragedy occurs from choking to death, unfortunately the death can be recorded as “complications relating to the neurological disease” not as choking. This makes it harder to keep track of how severe choking is in the care sector.

Care/diet plans are put in place by SALT for people who are at high risk of choking, but these are sadly missed on the rare occasion (for example when someone moves to a new home) and this is not a guarantee a resident will not choke. But these are essential to help a resident who is at risk of choking enjoy food as much as possible but stay safe at the same time.

Recently these sad media reports have again highlighted the need for extra measures to be put in place for the elderly/vulnerable:

Man at Kingsley Care Home Choked To Death On A Hot Cross Bun

Elderly Man Choked To Death While Eating His Lunch

The Sad Death Of Irene

At LifeVac we work very hard to help care providers safeguard the people they care for from choking to death when other methods fail and raise awareness of choking. We also have partners who help us achieve our goal to eradicate these sad preventable deaths: Care Shop, Beaucare, HSL Training & Medical Supplies, Wightman & Parrish, HCSUK.

Nearly every other week or month we receive feedback of LifeVac saving another life, some let us share the story to help raise awareness and some want us to keep it confidential which we fully respect. Either way we are starting to make an impact in the care sector helping care providers save the lives of the people they care for when tragedy strikes, now having saved over 35 lives from choking to death. Every other day we are either training a new care home or care group highlighting the risks of choking and demonstrating how to save a life when all else fails.

Runwood Homes Partners With LifeVac

LifeVac are proud to be able to say we are the only non-invasive airway clearance device and only airway clearance device/suction device with independent medical testing, peer reviewed medical publications and peer reviewed medical abstracts proving safety, effectiveness and lives saved.

We have now worked with and equipped over 2800 care and nursing homes across the UK, which means when the “silent killer” occurs that casualty will be able to tell their loved ones how the amazing carers and LifeVac saved their life when all else failed.

LifeVac Europe Wins Care Home Supplier Of The Year Award

LifeVac Europe LinkedIn Page

LifeVac Europe Facebook Page

LifeVac saves 35th life in the care sector and 1st life in Poland!

On the 9th of August 2019 we were informed that LifeVac saved another life.

This is LifeVac’s 35th life that we have been informed of and our first life saved in Poland.

Our distributor LifeVac Polska trained an elder care home “Dom Pomocy Społecznej” two weeks ago in Krakowska on the use of LifeVac to safeguard the people that they care for in a choking emergency.

On the 9th of August 2019, LifeVac was once again put to the test only a few weeks after training being delivered when an 81 year old female resident started choking during lunch. The resident was eating her meal accompanied with a bread roll, she came into difficulty when eating her roll and started to choke which became a full airway obstruction. Carers carried out the abdominal thrusts and back blows which failed, she then became unconscious due to lack of oxygen. Her carers then used LifeVac which dislodged the large bread bolus within seconds saving her life.


Eric Banagan MD of LifeVac Europe commented “This amazing news to receive and our 4th life saved within 2 weeks. Our distributors work very hard to help save lives and are just as passionate as we are to help raise care standards. The elderly have given so much to all of us, so they should they receive the best possible care available. We have been privileged to have so far worked with over 2700 care and nursing homes in the UK, from small independent homes to the largest care home providers/groups in the country. Choking is one of the leading causes of accidental death in adults over the age of 65 and we are working really hard to eradicate this statistic. Having trained many care homes, we always hear “someone choking is one of our biggest fears, especially if they are in a wheelchair”. If someone in a care facility is known to be high risk of choking the provider should be doing everything possible to prevent them from choking to death.


LifeVac saves 33rd LifeVac from choking to death, another life saved in the care sector.

LifeVac saves 33rd life!
A 92 yr old female dementia resident in an assisted living facility in California started to choke on mashed  potato and chicken during their dinner. The resident was pocketing a large quantity of food in her cheeks.
The food became a full airway obstruction and carers carried out abdominal thrusts and back blows which failed. The female resident started to turn blue as no air was getting into her body. LifeVac was used after BLS failed and successfully removed the food, before paramedics arrived and transported her to be checked over.
LifeVac has saved lives in the UK, USA, Canada, Spain, Greece, Albania, Australia and South Korea. We are extremely happy LifeVac was used again in the care sector to save another life. People over the age of 65 are 7 times more likely to choke than children. This is due to many reasons such as Dysphagia, lack of saliva due to medications and Neurological diseases such as MS and Parkinson’s Disease.
LifeVac is in over 2600 care and nursing homes across the UK and many more around the world.

LifeVac saves 34th life from choking to death!

On the 1st of August 2019, LifeVac was informed once again another life has been saved from choking to death.
LifeVac was used to save 6-year-old Logan from choking to death on two quarters in Canada.

Logan had been counting money that he had received from the “Tooth Fairy” from the night before. Unfortunately, Logan had put the money in his mouth. As soon as he realised something was wrong, he came running down to the kitchen for his mother Ali.

As soon as Ali saw her son Logan, she noticed immediately something was wrong as he was starting to turn blue and was unable to breath. Ali attempted the abdominal thrusts which failed, Ali then used a LifeVac which she had purchased a few months prior. As soon as LifeVac was applied, Logan started to breath again and colour came back to his face.

Ali commented, “Logan is completely fine and back to his normal goofy self, but without our LifeVac I’m sure that this wouldn’t of been possible”.


Matthew Banagan from LifeVac Europe commented, “This is once again amazing news! This one touches home a little for myself as my own son is only a year older and is also named Logan. This is LifeVac’s 5th child saved from choking to death and it really shows the different choking hazards for children as each airway obstruction has been different that LifeVac has dislodged from each child. In the first case report it was a hot dog where the terrifying experience was captured on CCTV in an IKEA restaurant, our second were carrots, our third was a hard piece of plastic, our fourth was a hard sweet (Lemon Head) and finally Logan who choked on two quarters”.


A LifeVac representative said “This goes to show how much certain suction devices are needed in first aid training and to be included into BLS choking protocol when BLS fails. People unfortunately take first aid classes (which is a must), but come away thinking that the procedures they carryout when someone chokes will always work. They do not know that choking protocol is only 70% effective when performed correctly by a healthcare professional in a perfect situation. This is what we are trying to raise awareness of at LifeVac and why we are working so hard to get suction devices into BLS as we have proven many times suction can be used by lay people when BLS fails”.





For the use on adults only in the UK and Ireland until further notice.

LifeVac saves 32nd life, 5 year old boy Quade choked on a lemon head.

On the 31st of July 2019 we were informed of another life saved by a courageous mother Jen Glenn who saved her sons life from choking to death on a Lemon Head using LifeVac.

5 year old Quade was given a Lemon Head (hard sweet) by his sister Quincey, Jen could hear Quincey asking her brother if he was okay. Jen came rushing into the bedroom and saw her son Quade with tears down his cheeks and snot coming from his nose. She quickly realised Quade couldn’t breath and he was choking on the hard sweet.

Jen carried out the abdominal thrusts and back blows on Quade which failed. Jen quickly remembered where she put a LifeVac she purchased last year. Running to her fridge she remembered that she had kept it on top, she grabbed the LifeVac and ran back to Quade.

After the second application LifeVac dislodged the hard sweet saving his life, Quade then vomited due to the terrifying ordeal.

Living in a remote area it would of taken 15-20 minutes for EMS to arrive, when someone is choking time is of the essence as you only have 2-3 minutes before they become unconscious and unfortunately around the 10 minute mark the casualty will have brain damage or die.


Matthew Banagan from LifeVac Europe commented “We thank Quade’s mother Jen for sharing this traumatic experience with us, once again LifeVac has saved another life when BLS has failed. This is LifeVac’s 4th child saved and LifeVac’s 32nd life saved, knowing family members are still able to hold, visit and speak to their son’s, daughter’s, mother’s, father’s and grandparents due to LifeVac is an amazing feeling. This is why LifeVac was invented and we are working very hard to get noninvasive suction into BLS protocol which will stop thousands of people dying every year from choking to death.






For the use on adults only in the UK and Ireland until further notice.


Runwood Homes Partners With LifeVac Europe.

On the 24th of July 2019, leading UK residential care and nursing home operator, Runwood Homes, have partnered with LifeVac Europe, to equip staff with the only non-invasive airway clearance device to use in choking emergencies.

The vacuum face-mask system operates with a simple place-push-pull handle manoeuvre to remove blockages by suction, 3 times greater than the highest recorded cough, and, in turn, clearing airways to re-enable breathing.

Gavin O’Hare-Connolly, Chief Operating Officer of Runwood Homes, speaks of the new partnership; “LifeVac is invaluable, lifesaving technology and we feel that it is essential to support our staff with such crucial lifesaving equipment. In particular, LifeVac will protect our residents who are living with a neurological condition, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, and with an increased choking risk.”

Wall mounted LifeVac packs are easily accessible and available to staff in all 72 Runwood Homes, each having received comprehensive training on using the device to safely and effectively remove any lodged food or object.


Matthew Banagan, Sales and Marketing Director of LifeVac Europe, commented; “LifeVac Europe are extremely proud to be working with such a well-respected care group such as Runwood Homes, who provide quality care for their residents.”

LifeVac have now worked with an equipped over 2700 care and nursing homes across the UK and have built a life saving reputation within the care sector, we are very happy to welcome Runwood Homes to the ever growing list of care providers who place their trust in us.

Just today a news article was released on another tragic choking tragedy Man at Kingsley Care Home Choked To Death On A Hot Cross Bun

Knowing how much of a common occurrence choking is in the care sector we are committed to helping care providers raise their standards of care and going the extra step to safeguard the people they care for. With over 20 lives saved in the care sector alone we are working really hard to raise awareness.


Visit our Training Page to see how we can help you or visit our Shop to see what variations of LifeVac we offer to suit you’re needs.