Heroics at Brewster adult residence: training saves a life

Residential Counselor Joanna Shea’s quick action proved heroic when an adult Latham resident was choking. Her supervisor commended Joanna’s vigilance. “Direct support staff at Latham are trained regularly in basic First Aid and CPR,” noted Residential Manager Stephen Lavallee. “An incident like this shows us all how important these trainings are. It’s with great appreciation—from the resident and myself—that I would like to acknowledge Joanna for saving a life.”

Joanna described the October incident to her colleagues: “The residents were eating their meal and I heard strange sounds coming from Jan’s direction. I asked Jan if she was okay but she didn’t respond. Other individuals were becoming upset that Jan was choking. Jan was not able to take in a breath and mucus was coming out of her nose. I reacted by helping Jan up from her chair and applying abdominal thrusts (aka Heimlich maneuver). Food particles became dislodged and Jan could begin taking breaths. In the moments of using my training to help Jan, I only reacted. Afterwards, I had to stay calm for the other individuals… I downplayed the incident and everyone began relaxing. It’s a good feeling knowing that when it’s needed to be put into practice, your training takes over—making you feel confident.”

Our training department also applauded Joanna for applying her training to save a life, and for ensuring the well-being of the others affected by the incident.

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Pictured below: Red Cross First Aid and CPR training is provided to staff during Latham Centers’ new employee orientation.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter