An elderly woman collapsed and died at a retirement facility in southern California after a nurse refused to perform CPR on her.
Here in Arizona, we wanted to find out what the protocols are for performing CPR at retirement homes.
It's complicated. There are different rules for assisted care living vs. a private care facility like the one in California.
Could the scenario that unfolded in California have happened here? The short answer is yes.
Now in his mid-80s, Dee Dee Hessler's father will start living at Beatitudes care facility in Phoenix soon.
"We've run into people that have lived here 15 or 18 years and they still love it so that's a great testimony," says Hessler.
The story about the nurse refusing to give CPR to a woman who collapsed at a California private care facility doesn't alarm Hessler because she has done her homework on this Phoenix facility.
"We did go through the paperwork here at the facility to find out what they would do, would they provide it or not… and we signed a disclaimer that said what our choice was and I talked with my father about it and asked him what he wanted to have done."
That's a personal choice for each family -- and each care facility in Arizona has its own policy regarding CPR.
"A facility can establish their own policies and procedures on how they are going to work with any emergency or any system in general," says Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona Department of Health Services.
Arizona's licensing services department requires that certain people at the facility have CPR training but they do not tell them under what circumstances they are to use that CPR.
"There's no requirement on when to use it."
Dr. Christ says being clear on a facility's policies about CPR and everything else is important.
"We absolutely encourage everyone who's considering any type of facility, whether it's an assisted living facility, to do as much background research and homework as they can," she says.
Beatitudes says it has a security team that is trained in CPR and in responding to emergencies.
The state of Arizona requires workers at the facility to know CPR, but they do not tell them when and how to use it.
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