Avoiding 'No CPR' and other extended living shocks

Concerns about what happens in nursing and extended care facilities are heightened after a shocking story from California. There is local help to ensure it doesn't happen to your loved ones.

The 911 tapes are shocking; an elderly woman in California collapses on the floor of her retirement home and a nurse calls 911 to send help. The nurse tells the dispatcher that she and other staff cannot administer CPR due to residence policy. The woman died.

It's an incident that makes people with loved ones in care, or people considering it, shake their heads. But there are ways to avoid such an unexpected policy: ask questions.

"You do want to find out what are the procedures, medical emergency procedures, that are provided or that are not provided. Because you cannot assume," says Lisa Alford, Onondaga County's Commissioner of Aging and Youth.

Area facilities we spoke with do have policies and they vary depending on the level of care offered at the facility.

Alford says they will make assessments on what a potential resident needs, but it's also up to family, friends or the individual to ask questions and make sure it's a good fit.

Financec are often the major determiner, but services offered need to be considered, too. And, the situations change as the resident/patient changes, both physically and mentally.

Where to go for help? A good start is NY Connects, a service coordinated with the NY State Health Department, but with a strong presence in Onondaga County. It can be accessed through it's website or by phone at 435-1400. It ois free and offers long term care information as well as referrals to services and resources to caregivers.