Summit DD’s Eat Safe campaign is designed to educate, support and help implement a safe eating culture for those with developmental disabilities in Summit County who are at risk for eating/swallowing difficulties. Research indicates that individuals with developmental disabilities are up to 3 times more likely than those in the general population to experience trouble eating/swallowing and die from respiratory disease.
Based on this data and feedback from people who receive services and their families, providers, county board staff, and community partners, Summit DD believed that providing additional resources and awareness about eating/swallowing difficulties would lead to a reduction of choking incidents and injuries.
Since 2018, these additional resources have led to a 53 percent reduction in choking-related Medical Emergency Major Unusual Incidents (MUIs). The expertise of Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) has helped Investigative Agents (IAs) better identify potential choking hazards. These additional resources work to improve the prevention plans for those people with choking concerns.
In 2021, Summit DD decided to push this progress even further by launching a comprehensive Eat Safe training video (view below) designed specifically for frontline disability staff, providers, family and guardians. By educating frontline staff, Summit DD hopes to reduce choking incidents even more.
These efforts were recently recognized by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. “Implementing a safe eating culture in Summit County didn’t happen overnight. It took countless hours of work, data recognition, and follow through. The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities would like to recognize the prevention efforts and progress of Summit DD’s Eat Safe campaign.”