There is no legal requirement for licensed nursing staff to perform CPR; however, it is the Standard of Care in New York State among licensed nursing staff.
Authorities are launching a criminal investigation into the death of an 87-year-old woman who was denied CPR at a California independent living home by a woman who identified herself to a 911 dispatcher as a nurse – but the facility now says she isn’t one.
During the call last Tuesday, an unidentified woman called from her cell phone, and asked for paramedics to be sent to help Lorraine Bayless, who collapsed in the dining room of the independent living building in Glenwood Gardens in Bakersfield. Later, a woman who identified herself as the nurse got on the phone and told dispatcher Tracey Halvorson she was not permitted to do CPR on the woman.
She said one of the home’s policies prevented her from doing CPR, according to an audio recording of the call. ”In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community, our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives,” Executive Director Toomer said. “That is the protocol we followed.”
The harrowing 7-minute, 16-second call also raised concerns that policies at senior living facilities could prevent staff from intervening in medical emergencies. It prompted calls for legislation Monday to prevent a repeat of what happened at Glenwood Gardens.
“This is a wakeup call,” said Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, chair of the California Assembly Aging and Long-term Care Committee. “I’m sorry it took a tragedy like this to bring it to our attention.”
In New York State we have the Assisted Living Reform Act (“ALRA”) with corresponding regulations. In reviewing both New York State regulations and ALRA, I was unable to find a requirement that CPR be performed. There was a proposal submitted by the Department of Health for a licensed registered nurse to be on staff 24 hours a day at assisted/independent living facilities; however that proposal was successfully challenged and there is still no requirement in place. Had such a regulation been effective, then that staff member would have been in a position to perform CPR.
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