California Nursing Home Policy; How Does Washington Compare?

When a nurse in the California Glenwood Gardens retirement home refused to provide CPR to 87 year old Lorraine Bayless who had collapsed in the home’s dining room, she stated she was following the nursing home’s policy.  In the following ABC news video, you can hear the exchange between the nurse and 911 dispatcher:

Pat McGinnis, founder of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said she’d never encountered this situation:   “This was so horrifying. I’ve never seen this happen before.”  Read Full Article

The debate focuses on the ethics and morality of the nurse’s actions.  Dr. Patricia Harris, head of University of Southern California’s geriatric division is quoted in the Huffington Post.  While pointing out that the survival odds are slim among elderly who receive CPR, Dr. Harris said she nevertheless would eschew the retirement home’s policy and risk termination “rather than watch somebody die in front of me.”Read Full Article

The incident has sparked calls for legal reform in California:

“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.” Read Full Article

Could this Happen in Washington?

According to an article in The Seattle Times, Dr. Mickey Eisenberg, medical director of King County Emergency Medical Services, said he’s never heard of this happening in King County, Washington.  Read Full Article

In the same article, a Washington nursing home representative is adamant that the California situation would not arise in Washington:

“No, no, no! Nothing like that happens here!” said Rich Miller, president and CEO of the Washington Health Care Association, which represents assisted-living and skilled-nursing facilities in Washington. Read Full Article

Regardless of official assurances, any nursing home in which you or a loved one plans to live should be thoroughly vetted through research, references and visits to ensure the facility meets your standards of care and is in keeping with your values.

When You Suspect Neglect

The California incident raises important issues for the elderly and their families when exploring retirement, nursing and assisted living facilities. Quality of facilities, staff and programs vary widely. Unfortunately, neglect and abuse may occur even in the most carefully chosen nursing home. If you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a Washington nursing home, don’t hesitate to call Dixon & Cannon, Ltd. at (206) 957-2247 for a free consultation.

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