Seniors die from choking in long term care homes

Coroners reports consulted by the Journal de Montreal revealed in the last three years some twenty seniors died from choking on their food in long term care facilities across the province.

Patients rights advocate Paul Brunet says he's not surprised by the results and if we don't change the system there will be more senseless deaths.

"We need to supervise, but we can't because we are not enough.  We are assisting to these kind of dramatic situations because the head of the system does not require a minimum number of people to supervise so that people don't die because they were eating and they choked," Brunet said.

He says the provincial government also needs to invest to train staff members so they are able to do the Heimlich manoeuvre.

Pierre Blain, from the Regroupement provincial des comités des usagers, who speaks for residents living in long term care homes, says they often bring in extra employees to assist with feeding, but only reserve 10 minutes for meal times.

"It's a problem perhaps some people need more time than others, they must change their way of working," Blain said.

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