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Aspiration in last stage dementia


Registered User
Apr 12, 2013
My mum is in last stage vascular dementia (entering 5th year) was rushed in to A & E a few days ago from her nursing home. They informed me that they classed it as an emergency as mum was going very red in face, was choking as unable to clear her coughing (this was 2 hours after being fed her liquidised food) and struggling to breathe. I was told the paramedics worked on her in ambulance for 10 minutes to suction out her left lung and they said it was blocked? She is now back at the nursing home after being discharged from hospital same day but nursing staff have been told to watch our for Aspiration Pneumonia? Could this kind of episode happen again with Mum's lungs, is it an end of life sign? Please if anybody could help if they have experience of this I would be grateful for any feedback (as it really upset me and do not want Mum to suffer). Thank you x


Registered User
Jun 4, 2010
West Midlands

I'm bumping this so those who have experience can answer.

I only have theory knowledge.

Thinking of you xx

Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello flower1

If your mum really is at the end stage of her dementia, the care home should consult her doctor to ask for palliative care to be arranged.

This means attendance from the district nurses and a package of drugs made available so they can be administered as soon as it becomes apparent your mum needs help to remain pain free and comfortable .

It's a most distressing time and I hope the nursing home have adopted the correct procedure for end of life palliative care.


Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
My husband had aspiration pneumonia 2 years ago. He was in hospital for 10 days on IV antibiotics. In April of this year he was back in hospital with an aspiration chest infection. At one point they thought he had had a pulmonary oedema.

He has fairly advanced Alzheimer's and was diagnosed 14 years ago come October. Last night I had to use the Heimlich manoeuvre on him as he choked while he was eating his dinner. I got paramedics but they were happy enough with him. He was ok but shaken.

I'm not sure that helps you any. Bill can still feed himself and eats 'normal' food. He's being referred to a speech and language therapist. They are always worried that he will aspirated food again. I think it is very common with dementia.
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annie h

Registered User
Jun 1, 2013
Sounds like you might to need to have better communication with the NH. It must be questionable whether it is in your mum's best interests for her to be carted off to A&E in these circumstances. But this was obviously prompted by a failure in the feeding process - perhaps someone inexperienced, or who felt under time pressure to get the food down, or simply was too ignorant to know that they needed to check that the food had all been swallowed so that she didn't go to sleep with it still in her mouth? There really isn't any alternative to sticking your oar in and making sure that they know you want to know everything and will turn up at random times without warning - that means you will become aware if things aren't being handled properly and knowing they are monitored is great for making people do their job properly! I found that staff didn't like to raise discussions of end of life care themselves but were pleased to be able to discuss it when it was raised. That enables you to make your views known on whether you would want your mum taken to hospital or whether you feel it's better for things to be handled in the less hectic and more familiar surroundings of the NH.


Registered User
Apr 12, 2013
Many thanks to everybody for your kind feedback. I have read all and have taken on board some valuable advice from these. My Mum today I have been told has been eating and drinking when fed by staff but then I feel until the next episode, this cruel disease is a massive emotional roller coaster, which sometimes is so hard to handle and understand. I am certainly going to question the fact about the A & E visit should this happen again, will also question who is feeding my Mum (should it always be a trained nurse now?). I know they have referred her through doctor to SALT team again so I am sure this will be helpful. Thank you once again xx