STAFF at a Wyre Forest care home have praised an innovative anti-choking device which was used to save the life of a resident who "turned blue" after choking on a piece of sausage.

First-aiders at Casa Mia Care Home in Far Forest turned to the Dechoker as a last resort after back slaps and abdominal thrusts failed to revive a woman who fell unconscious for between three and four minutes during dinner on July 18.

Team leaders Tracey Hemmings, aged 46, and Lorraine Swain, aged 58, say the woman, who suffers with a mood disorder which affects her mobility, "would have died" if it wasn't for the device.

Tracey said: "I was the last person to get down to the dining room when the emergency panic alarm went off.

Ledbury Reporter:

The Dechoker kit

"Lorraine had already tried back slaps but that didn't work, so we started doing abdominal thrusts. When that didn't work we realised the severity of the situation and called 999.

"She was totally unresponsive and started to turn blue.

"We grabbed the Dechoker as a last resort. We have three of them in the home and were all trained how to use them last year.

"We tried it in the lying down position but that didn't seem to work so we got her up over a table and tried it again and it dislodged.

"She started breathing again. It was amazing.

"Lorraine and I both said she would have died otherwise. It was a really close call."

The resident was the 31st person to be saved by a Dechoker, which works by creating a powerful suction to remove the object from the airway.

Casa Mia now wants to encourage other care homes in the area to invest in a Dechoker in case of emergencies.

Lorraine said: "I've worked in a lot of care homes and I've never seen one.

"Like with a defibrillator, you hope you never have to use it but you're so glad it's there if you do need it."

Ledbury Reporter:

The Dechoker and the dislodged piece of sausage

A spokesman for Dechoker UK said: "We saved our first life with Dechoker in April last year, and the call from Casa Mia to tell us about the 31st was just as amazing.

"Afterwards I spoke to people involved and whilst it was understandable they were still a bit shaken, their relief was clear. They told me that if it hadn’t been for Dechoker the outcome could have been very different one."

West Midlands Ambulance Service, which does not use Dechokers, issued the following advice for anyone who comes across a case of choking: "The most effective way of helping someone is to dial 999, get the patient to cough and if they cannot do so administer back slaps and abdominal thrusts to try to remove the object that is blocking a person’s airway.

"As a trust we follow the international guidelines on choking management from the Resuscitation Council."