independent living facility

What Happens If There Is an Emergency at an Independent Living Facility?

Belinda Worth, 88 years old, collapsed while at her independent living facility in Florida. When the staff called 9-1-1, the dispatcher requested the staff to perform CPR, but they refused. The staff member reported it was against policy. By the time the ambulance arrived, Belinda was dead.

This may surprise you. It may make you mad.

How could this have happened? Why wouldn’t they help her? They could have saved her life!

This situation may not make much sense at first, but the staff did exactly what they were supposed to.

Life-Prolonging Care

Ms. Worth had a Do-Not Resuscitate order. This means she did not want anyone to intervene with lifesaving care. This includes CPR in most cases. If the staff attempted CPR, the facility could have been sued by Worth’s family or Worth herself if she had survived.

Independent Living Facility Staff Are Usually Unskilled

Not all independent living facilities have skilled nursing staff. Not all of them need it by law. It depends on the care they provide seniors. The one Ms. Worth lived at may have not been one of the facilities that required staff to be trained in CPR. While they could have tried to perform CPR according to the dispatcher’s directions, it’s not required.

CPR May Have Not Worked

Ms. Worth died of a heart attack. CPR won’t save someone from a heart attack or stroke.

Important Points to Remember

Independent living facilities are not medical facilities. They are not legally liable to provide medical care, even emergency care. Those that do provide it may end up legally liable if something happens to the person during the live saving techniques. For this reason, many people will not step in and help.

Emergency care is not a requirement. Basic first-aid training may be provided IF there is someone there who knows how to perform it. Otherwise, that may not even be offered.

Tips for Choosing an Independent Living Facility

If you are considering an independent living facility, you need to ask the director what you can expect if the same happens to you or your loved one. It’s better to know what you will or will not receive rather than being surprised if something happens and it’s not handled in the way you want it.

It’s a good idea to ask for a DNR (Do-Not-Resuscitate order) if you haven’t had one yet. This will prevent the facility from doing anything that may prolong your life if you end up in an emergency.

If you are seeking for medical care during an emergency, you may want to try a different setting.

I hope this information gives you the insight you need as you search for an independent living facility. If need to discuss the emotional impact of an independent living facility, please consider personal consulting. As a personal consultant, I help many people cope with the changes that happen when moving to a different place for senior care.

Contact me now for more information on personal consulting.

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