Choking - Coughing !!

  1. I am a new LPN and work in an Assisted Living Facility. There were 40 people in the Dining Room and suddenly someone was coughing loudly in the corner of the room. I ran over thinking something was caught in her throat, however, she was coughing and speaking softly that she felt something was going down slowly....SCARED.....but I didn't want to let on. Suddenly, I wasn't sure whether to smack the back (afraid it would lodge), heimlich? What I ended up doing was rubbing her back while calming her down. In between she was able to take a few sips of water. Anyone else ever been in this situation. It wasn't choking....which has happened and is also very frightening! Any suggestions would be appreciated as I'm afraid this isn't the last time it will happen!
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    About ididit

    Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 17; Likes: 5
    lpn
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    3 Comments

  3. by   Hoping LVN2BSN
    Coming from a student, what I have been taught is if they can cough and talk, they are managing and don't need any intervention. But standby in case things go bad and they do need your help. It's funny the worst coughing I ever hear is from the elderly in our geriactric clinicals, it was really alarming the first couple times I heard it. But as long as they're are coughing and breathing, I just wait with them until they stop. I don't think smacking the back is prescribed though.

    If this is always a problem with that particular patient, maybe her diet needs to be modified to semi soft or something like that. HTH Congrats on the new nurse status!!! Hope to join you soon!
    Last edit by Hoping LVN2BSN on Sep 6, '06
  4. by   ididit
    Thanks for the input! I feel better. Felt a bit helpless just soothing her but thought in my gut it was the only thing to do.

    Lot's of luck in school.....before you know it, you'll be "there"!
  5. by   ididit
    Quote from Hoping2/19/07
    Coming from a student, what I have been taught is if they can cough and talk, they are managing and don't need any intervention. But standby in case things go bad and they do need your help. It's funny the worst coughing I ever hear is from the elderly in our geriactric clinicals, it was really alarming the first couple times I heard it. But as long as they're are coughing and breathing, I just wait with them until they stop. I don't think smacking the back is prescribed though.

    If this is always a problem with that particular patient, maybe her diet needs to be modified to semi soft or something like that. HTH Congrats on the new nurse status!!! Hope to join you soon!
    Thank you for the input....thought in my gut that I was doing the correct thing, however, felt a bit helpless.

    Good luck in school....before you know it, you'll be "there"!

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