AN ELDERLY resident with severe dementia choked to death at a York care home, an inquest heard.

Staff at Amelia House in Coningham Avenue, Rawcliffe, used abdominal thrusts and blows to Joyce Heathcote's back to try and save her life, the hearing at New Earswick Folk Hall was told.

Paramedics were called and joined the efforts to save the resident, and removed a small piece of doughnut with a type of forcep.

Care assistant Rebecca Martin said the doughnut was soft and moist, and she cut it up into small pieces and had sat next to Mrs Heathcote as she was eating.

After she started choking, a nurse came in from another part of the home and laid her on the floor, and started doing abdominal thrusts and hitting her back. "I went to go and look for the suction machine," she said.

York's senior acting coroner Jonathan Leach said the former nurse, who was 78, had died through aspiration of food due to severe dementia, and concluded her death was accidental.

A spokesman for the care home told The Press: "Our thoughts and sympathies once again go out to Mrs Heathcote’s family for their loss. Her sudden death was deeply upsetting for all concerned, including the staff who were caring for her at the time.

"Mrs Heathcote was in the dining room and being assisted to eat by two members of staff when she began choking. Our staff intervened and paramedics were called but sadly she could not be saved."