CPR: In Case of Emergency | VideoRetha Colclasure | 3/11/2013
John Woutat has been answering 911 calls for eight years. “Everything from major accidents to heart attacks to as minor as people with stomach pains and chest pains."
Most of the time, the person on the other end wants to help.
"As far as flat out refuses to do nothing where you come to the point where it was argumentative, no," he said.
So when he heard about a call in California where a person refused to perform potentially lifesaving CPR. "I don`t want to say I was appalled, but I was appalled."
According to the North Dakota Long Term Care Association, about one-third of nursing facilities in North Dakota have a policy similar to one at an independent living center in California.
"The expectation is you would call 911 and they would get help then. They generally don`t have trained help," said Shelly Peterson with the ND Long Term Care Association.
That`s the policy at the center where her own mother lives.
"It generated conversation, what kind of situation is my mother living in, what is their response, and what are their wishes," she said.
Peterson says the key is for families to talk about what their wishes are in an emergency, because not everyone wants CPR. And then make sure the facility you`re considering can meet those wishes.
"Inform families up front, if your loved one stops breathing and we don`t have trained staff, we comfort, support, and call 911. If you`re uncomfortable with that, don`t move to that facility."
If a caregiver knew that a person did not want CPR, Peterson says those wishes need to be respected. But if a caregiver didn`t know, she says North Dakota`s Good Samaritan laws would protect a person who still chose to perform emergency medical procedures, even if it was against a center`s policy.
An independent living center is different from assisted living or basic care centers, where staff would be trained in CPR. Peterson says any time a person enters a long term care center, the family will have discussions with the center about what the patient`s wishes are in the event of an emergency.