Parkinson’s Disease and the Heimlich Maneuver

Chewing and swallowing issues are some common problems that Parkinson’s patients face, particularly in the later stages of the disease. Because Parkinson’s patients are at an increased risk of choking, all caregivers and family members should know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver in case of emergency.

A person who is choking may cough or gasp, but can’t speak or breathe and he or she needs your help immediately. To perform the Heimlich maneuver on a choking victim, follow these steps:


  1. From behind, wrap your arms around the victim’s waist.
  2. Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against the victim’s upper abdomen, below the ribcage and above the navel.
  3. Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into their upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Do not squeeze the ribcage; confine the force of the thrust to your hands.
  4. Repeat until object is expelled


Make sure the victim sees a physician immediately after the choking incident.

 If you are caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease, consider taking a class on how to properly perform both the Heimlich maneuver and CPR. For more information on caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease, contact the care experts at Wellness Home Care in Goshen, Newburgh, Liberty, Suffern, or White Plains, NY.

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