We’ve covered all different kinds of situations here on our blog, but what about the scary stuff, like choking? A SPINALpedia fan and wife of a quadriplegic recently wrote us about a scary situation recently that happened to her husband.
While home alone, her husband began to choke and at the worse time possible – there was no one around. Fortunately he was able to drink enough water until help arrived, but what if this happens to you? And how can you help someone in a wheelchair who’s choking?
Here are three videos that show how to save someone in a wheelchair who’s choking both quickly and easily, which in a choking situation is a mighty good thing.
Video #1: Slap the back first
In a training video for caregivers, this video shows how to help someone in a wheelchair who’s choking. First, you should approach the individual and ask if they’re choking, if they cannot answer and it’s obvious that they are, put on their brakes (if they use a manual wheelchair) and yell for help.
After, go behind the wheelchair-user and slap their upper-back five times to see if that dislodges what’s in their throat. And if that still doesn’t work, stand behind the wheelchair-user, reach your arms around their torso and under the breastbone, and pull five times.
Video #2: Wheelchair hockey players learn the Heimlich
Everybody’s heard of the infamous Heimlich maneuver, but how do you perform it on a wheelchair-user? The Wheelchair Hockey League of Michigan felt it was important that their players learned, so they brought in an expert to demonstrate how it’s done.
First, lean the wheelchair-user forward and do five back blows. Next, she shows abdominal thrusts, but from the front of the person in case reaching around from behind isn’t possible, which for many wheelchair-users is the case.
And if for whatever reason you can’t get from behind them or from the front, she recommends finding a place on their upper chest frm behind and pressing/pulling there.
Video #3: Get on your knees to do a better job
In this video from Roy on Rescue, a guy who teaches basic first aid techniques online, he shows how to help someone in a wheelchair who is choking when it’s impossible to get them out of their wheelchair.
Roy gives a great tip when reaching from behind a person in a wheelchair – get on your knees so you can grab them easier. This is really what every able-bodied person should do, unless they’re really short, when they reach behind a person in a wheelchair
For manual chair-users, he also shows how you can lean a wheelchair all the way back to the floor so that the user is in a near-laying position to perform chest compressions.
Like a spinal cord injury, choking can happen in an instant. We must always be on our toes. Always be careful when you’re eating and drinking, spinal cord injured-people of the world. This is your first line of defense, and your best one.
Have you had any choking scares in your wheelchair? What happened?
Watch the videos!