When the managers at Oak House Care Home in Netherton, Dudley planned to take two of their service users on a short holiday, little did they know that one of their staff members would have to call upon her newly-gained emergency first aid skills to save a man in their care from choking to death.
Keeley Fowkes, 22 from Halesowen, has been one of Martin Pearson’s carers for the last year. However, her quick reactions and ability to stay calm may have just saved his life.
Keeley said: “We were out to dinner, Martin ordered a well-done steak and, after taking a bite, tried to talk, breathing the steak to the back of this throat.
“Initially we didn’t think too much of it and tried to wash it down with water, but he started panicking and his lips turned blue.”
Keeley, having only been in the care industry for a year at the time, was faced with a life-threatening situation. Just weeks before, Keeley had coincidentally completed her Basic Life Support training with specialist training company Endeavour Care Training.
“All the training just came to me in that moment and I was able to perform the techniques we were taught in order to dislodge the food. It was very frightening, but I think the adrenaline just kicked in.”
Mr Pearson, although able to work full time, lives with learning disabilities and depends on the support given by Keeley and her colleagues at the care home: “I’m just so grateful to Keeley. She knew exactly what to do to help me. I genuinely thought I was going to die.”
Following the incident Mr Pearson was shaken but was well enough to enjoy the rest of the break with close observation from Keeley and Oak House’s Deputy Manager, Nikki Worton.
In recognition of Keeley’s quick and decisive actions, Endeavour Care Training’s Owner, Peter Gathercole presented her an award and vouchers.
Keeley’s proud bosses, Oak House owners, Adam and Dominic Brinton-Williams said: “The quick actions of Keeley prevented a catastrophe to a service user in their care; it shows the dedication and care staff have within the home.
“It’s a privilege knowing you’ve got staff like Keeley, she’s remarkable, and fantastic with our service users. And that goes for all our wonderful team, we are very proud indeed. And what a testament to the training Pete and his company provide; we highly recommend their training. Pete and Dianne are wonderful trainers and really do understand the needs of those in the care industry.”