After CPR refusal, woman dies — what you should know about senior living facilities

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In a 911 call, a woman trained as a nurse at a Bakersfield, Calif., independent living facility refused to perform CPR on an 87-year-old resident who was having trouble breathing. The elderly woman later died in the hospital. So why did the staffer refuse to help? She said she wouldn't perform CPR because it was against Glenwood Gardens' policy. Her boss said she did the right thing.

So how can you prevent something like this from happening to your loved one? Senior living facilities in Kansas City say make sure you do your homework and ask the right questions.

Craig Faith, Director of Public Safety at John Knox Village in Lee's Summit, says he doesn't think a policy should stand in the way of anyone getting the care they need. He says all 1,500 residents at the continuing care retirement community get the same attention as far as emergency response.

Faith says John Knox village has its own EMS service, which includes ambulances and EMTs on site. He says nearly all staff are CPR certified.

"Regardless of the level of care that an individual is in, our policy is to help that individual if they need CPR, if they need the Heimlich maneuver," said Randy McBride also with John Knox Village. But McBride acknowledges that all facilities are different. He said policies and regulations differ from state to state -- and before choosing a place to live, people should ask what would happen in an emergency.

In a statement from Brookdale Senior Living, the parent company of Glenwood Gardens in California, they said, "Glenwood Gardens is an independent living facility, which by law is not licensed to provide medical care to any of its residents. We are conducting an internal review to determine all of the facts about what occurred while waiting for the paramedics who arrived moments later. Our associate who was involved was serving in the capacity of a Resident Services Director, not as a nurse."

Brookdale Senior Living also operates nine facilities in the metro. They run the gamut from assisted living and independent living to Alzheimer's care facilities.

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1 Comment

  • Russell

    You learn not to let your loved one live in a Brookdale facility. Recently ranked 5th worst company in U.S. to work for! WallStJour/
    A nurse has a Duty to Care for the sick! you gonna walk over your mother, lying on the floor?