The death of a woman at a California care facility is sparking a nationwide debate, weighing a stated policy, against what many say is a case of right versus wrong...
The woman at the center of this case, 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless, collapsed in front of staff and other residents.
When asked why the staff refused to even try to resuscitate Bayless, the executive director, said it is the policy of Glenwood Gardens that staff does not attempt CPR.
He said the policy is in place because it's not a nursing facility, it's an independent living facility.
There are no nurses on staff to provide assistance, and residents are made aware of this when they move into the building.
So now the question, could a situation like this happen here?
KSFY News reporter met Cary Knudson, the nursing director of Avera's Prince of Peace.
At prince of peace, they have a completely different policy.
Not only are staff expected to respond, but they are trained to do so.
Having something like this happen can serve as a reminder for all of us to be prepared in case of a medical emergency.
Minutes, even seconds matter in an emergency situation.
"We have nurses obviously in the facility, 24/7. They know that anytime an emergency light is pulled that that's the priority," Knudson said.
Knudson recognizes other retirement homes may have different polices, which can be difficult for the people who work there.
"It's a gray area, 'am I supposed to respond or not,' that's why we've really worked with our staff and made sure they understand that we do respond and provide those services. it's part of the reassurance of living in a community like ours," Knudson said.
And it was the policy for staff members to not perform CPR at one retirement home in California. the policy got between a nurse and a 911 operator, after an 87-year-old woman collapsed in the facility's dining room and later died.
It may not have made a difference in this case, but one thing you can do to save time should an emergency strike, is make sure the facility and your family members know your wishes for care in advance.
"An advance directive is for making end of life decisions, whether you want to be resuscitated, not be resuscitated at the end of your life, how extensive do you want your medical care to be," Knudson said.
If you have questions or concerns about the care given in your independent living facility -- and don't believe you are getting the answers you need you can call the South Dakota Department of Social Services Division of Adult Services and Aging.
South Dakota Department of Social Services Division of Adult Services and Aging.
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