Choking: First Aid Advice For Assisting A Wheelchair-Bound Person

Choking Wheelchair

Table of Contents

How Do You First Aid A Choking Wheelchair-Bound Person

Choking occurs when the choking wheelchair-bound person has a blocked airway, typically a piece of food, that prevents air from entering the lungs and providing oxygen to the internal organs. If the blockage cannot be removed quickly, the situation can suddenly become a life-threatening scenario resulting in death.

If the choking person is wheelchair bound, the difficulty in providing appropriate choking First Aid steps up several degrees. Accessing the casualty’s back and being able to easily manoeuvre them into the positions required to deliver the five back blows and five stomach thrusts can be difficult, especially if you are a solo First Aider.

The following video gives a visual demonstration of how to assist a wheelchair-bound choking person to provide a visual display and example of the technique and level of force required.


What Is The Best Choking Wheelchair-Bound Person First Aid Procedure

If you happen to be the first person to attend to a choking person, the first thing you should do is encourage the choking victim to cough as hard as they can. If they cannot cough, then the following First Aid should be employed.

Solo First Aid Responder

· Apply the wheelchair brakes and call for help.

· If help arrives, ensure that someone always stays with the casualty.

· Lean the choking wheelchair-bound user forward, supporting their weight across the chest with your forearm and firmly slap their upper back 5 times with an open hand.

· Stand behind the casualty with the wheelchair firmly against your thighs. Where the person is slim enough, wrap your arms around their ribcage, forming a fist with your hands under their rib cage and simultaneously pulling their body towards you and upwards in a chest thrust, compressing the area under your fists as if to lift them out of the chair 5 times or until the blockage is removed and visually spat out.

During the first round, you may only dislodge the obstruction and not remove it entirely. Check the casualty’s mouth and see if you can remove any artefact present. If the wheelchair-bound person is still choking, repeat the above steps three times.

If assistance still has not arrived to call for an ambulance, stop giving First Aid and place a call to emergency services, then return to the person as quickly as possible and return to giving five back blows and five stomach thrusts until help arrives. If the blockage is removed, but the person is unresponsive, begin wheelchair CPR.

 At any stage, should a second person attend, they should immediately call for emergency services to attend while you stay and give choking First Aid to the choking wheelchair-bound person.

Wheelchair-Bound Technique Variations

Where the choking wheelchair-bound person is too large to wrap your arms around, or too heavy to lean forward supported, there is a variation that starts with a slight difference in the placement of the wheelchair. In the above scenario, the brakes are applied where the wheelchair is already stationed. In the variation, the back of the wheelchair must be placed against a solid surface like a wall or furniture, and then the brakes are applied. You will give First Aid from the front only.

Please refer to the video link above for a demonstration of the following words.

· Ask the person to cough hard to remove the blockage if they can.

· Assuming they cannot, and you are not able to see the blockage in their mouth to remove.

· Make a fist and place it directly under the ribcage and firmly using abdominal thrusts, thrust inwards and upwards with firm pressure. Do not punch the person but push very firmly to the point it forces the object blocking the airway to dislodge.

· Give five back thrusts to the upper back between the shoulder blades if possible and continue the cycle until the blockage is removed, help arrives, or the person becomes unresponsive.

· If the wheelchair-bound person becomes unresponsive, chest-only CPR must take precedence over removing the blockage.

How Do I Provide Wheelchair-Bound CPR

Single operator:


Two operators:


FACE Blog Link:

Advice On How To Provide Wheelchair CPR

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