Bad oral health can lead to choking

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SIMPLE steps could reduce the risk of people with learning difficulties dying from choking.

That’s the conclusion of a multi-agency review carried out by the Hampshire Safeguarding Adults Board.

The board, which is made up of bodies including Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire County Council (HCC), Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health NHS Trust, carried out a review following the deaths of five people with learning disabilities that choked in county between 2005 and 2010.

Some of the recommendations given include supporting adults with a learning disability to take up annual health checks, attend a dentist for regular check ups and ensure there are enough speech and language therapy resources for assessments.

Councillor Felicity Hindson, executive member for adult services at HCC, said: ‘I welcome this review into an important issue for those commissioning and providing care for people with learning disabilities.

‘Poor oral health is a key contributory factor in choking, which is a significant risk for this vulnerable group.’