Good news for those needing emergency CPR
March 13, 2013
If you follow the TV news programs, you undoubtedly saw the item about an woman collapsing at a California retirement home and being refused CPR by the management of the facility, despite tearful begging from the 911 operator for someone to do so until EMTs arrived.
The nurse who apparently made the call said she was unable to perform CPR because of management rules. Later, the retirement facility's management said the nurse behaved according to company rules. The woman died of cardiac arrest. Her daughter later said she approved of the management rule to not provide CPR.
It was never made clear if the woman had do not resuscitate identification on her. Some people have such instructions on bracelets or necklaces they wear. (It would be nice if there was a badge they could wear that would identify them at a glance.) DNR usually means no CPR or other life-extending methods are wanted.
With all that in mind, I decided to see what the situation was at Carson City retirement, independent-living and assisted-living facilities. There are more than 10 such facilities in and around Carson City, so I decided to check with some of the larger ones.
At the Carson City Senior Citizen Center, the two ladies at the front office smiled and hooted, "Of course we would give CPR to someone who fell down here." They were cheerful about it.
At the Retired Senior Volunteer Program office, one staffer said that with the Respite program, people follow the wishes of the caregiver involved but ask volunteers to call 911 rather than attempt to give medical help.
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At the independent-living unit Carson Plaza on East Long Street, a staffer named Casa said they would offer CPR after calling EMTs.
"We have medical people around much on the time," she said.
At the next-door facility, The Lodge for assisted living, the young lady who had earlier shown me around said, "Sure. We would give CPR. Everyone on staff is CPR trained, so we would act."
Around the corner at the new independent-living unit Sierra Ridge, David said, "We'd jump right in. Never let anyone die that we could help with CPR."
So the picture is generally pretty good for getting CPR in an emergency at these facilities and others. And Nevada has a "good samaritan" law that largely protects those who render aid in such situations. Quote: "Except as provided in NRS 41.505, any person in this state, who renders emergency care or assistance in an emergency, gratuitously and in good faith, is not liable for any civil damages as a result of any act or omission, not amounting to gross negligence, by him/her in rendering the emergency, care or assistance, or as a result of any act or failure to act, not amounting to gross negligence, to provide or arrange for further medical treatment for the injured person."
If you want a DNR identity badge, you might check with your doctor or health provider for such an existing device. The VA also offers them.
MORE ON SENIOR SKIING
Last Monday at Heavenly Mountain Resort, I noticed as I was quitting after a morning on Boulder, Comet and Dipper slopes the large number of senior skiers showing up at lunchtime, ready to enjoy the bright sun and temperatures in the 50s. Most wore season passes, so obviously they were regulars.
I spotted one senior with a pair of straight skis, something that went out in the mid-90s. I asked if he had tried the new shaped skis that make the sport easier. "Nope, two more seasons and I'll have these paid for," he joked.
"And the best skiing is yet to come," he continued. "Spring skiing is awesome — warm weather, good snow and no need for the heavy winter wear."
He's right; spring skiing on corn snow — snow that melts in the sun and freezes at night into corn-sized pellets — is much like skiing powder, perhaps the most fun in skiing.
In case you have problems with hearing on the phone, you might want to look into a caption phone, as I have mentioned before. My new unit works just fine, and the operators in Salt Lake City who translate the spoken word into text for the small screen are pretty fast. The only thing is, while you get to read what your caller has said, what you say doesn't appear on the screen. So you have to keep alert to what you said as well as what the caller says. Yep, there's a small time lag between what the call said and what appears on the screen, but it's a lot better than having to ask you caller to repeat the message. Check it out on the Internet if you're interested.
GIVING CLIENTS A LIFT
When you're given the task of picking up someone who has asked RSVP for a ride, it's always a kind of hide-and-seek affair. My most recent one involved a lady who needed a ride to the Northern Nevada Correctional Center on Snyder Road. Problem was, my instructions failed to mention that the woman's apartment door didn't have a number and the address number was wrong.
I finally found her and tried to take her to the NNCC, but a flashing sign said Snyder Road was closed. (We both missed the alternate flash of 3-11-13.) We finally worked our way to the facility in time for her noon-to-2 p.m. visit. I left and returned to pick her up among the stream of visitors leaving, mostly pretty joyful. But waiting allowed me to see all the barbed-wire wrapping about the prison itself … really grim.
Then it was to Smith's so she could pick up a check from her father. I waited, but when she came back to the car it was without the check. Seems her DMV ID had expired the day before and she could not pick up the check. She had little money with her, so she had to wait until Monday … if RSVP could find a ride for her. She passed over the $2 that RSVP suggests for a ride with a smile, despite it all.
Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.