Independent Living Centers & Emergency Care

SPARKS, NV - An incident where a nurse refuses to perform CPR on a resident at an independent living center has the attention of many.

The incident happened in Bakersfield, California last week, and the patient died before emergency crews arrived. As unusual as it all sounds, such an incident could happen here or any of a number of independent living centers throughout the Nevada

Dispatcher: "Refusing CPR they are going to let her die."

A dispatcher pleading with a nurse to deliver CPR to a downed resident at an independent living center in Bakersfield.

Dispatcher: "I don't understand why you are not willing to help this patient."

The owners of the facility Brookdale Senior Living Community in Bakersfield emphasize the facility is an independent living center--not a medical facility.

And therefore does not deliver medical care, and cannot deliver medical care because its not licensed by the state to do so.

Here in Sparks, Brookdale owns The Villas of Sparks, another independent living center.

Executive Director Evette Lockhart, who would not appear on camera but talked about policy and procedure over the phone, told KOLO 8 News Now, when residents move in they understand that staff are not required to deliver emergency care.

Rather she says if a resident runs into trouble, staff is directed to call 911 and will stay with the resident until help arrives.

So scenarios like the one in Bakersfield could happen in Sparks.

Nurse: "I cannot have our other senior citizens who don't know CPR..."
Dispatcher: "I will instruct them..."

According to Lockhart the decision to deliver emergency care with the direction of a dispatcher is made by each individual staff member, as Lockhart says, they may not feel comfortable giving CPR.

Nevada's Health Division regulates medical facilities and confirmed what Lockhart relayed to KOLO 8.

With the incident in Bakersfield, and the policies and procedures each independent living center has concerning medical care, the state says its important for families to fully understand what their loved one signs up for when they decide to move into such a center.

While the state does not regulate independent living centers it does regulate residential care and assisted living centers.

Such centers are required to have all care giving staff trained in first aid and CPR.