Resident Death at Brookdale Community Puts IL Regulations Under Scrutiny

| March 5, 2013

The death of an 87-year-old resident at a Brookdale Senior Living community in Bakersfield, Calif. last week has sparked calls for lawmakers to rethink policy regulations within senior living communities’ independent living sections.

On Feb. 26, Glenwood Gardens resident Lorraine Bayless, 87, passed away some time after telling a facility nurse that she was having trouble breathing, reports the L.A. Times.

The nurse dialed 911 but did not provide CPR to the resident at the dispatcher’s request, per the community’s protocol, according to the nurse.

By the time paramedics arrived at the senior living community, the Bakersfield police incident report says, Bayless was lying on the floor not breathing and without a pulse. Investigators also found that a do-not-resuscitate order was not present in Bayless’ paperwork.

Tennesee-based Brookdale Senior Living is one of the nation’s largest senior living providers and operates Glenwood Gardens, which offers a full continuum of care, including independent living community, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing and rehab care. By law, the community is not licensed  to provide medical care to its independent living residents.

Glenwood Gardens’ executive director, Jeffrey Toomer, defended the nurse’s decision to not administer CPR to Bayless in a statement released on Monday, while also extending condolences to the woman’s family.

“In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community, our practice is to immediately call emergency personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives,” said Toomer in the statement. “That is the protocol we followed. As with any incident involving a resident, we will conduct a thorough internal review of this matter.”

The nursing credentials of the woman who dialed 911 were unclear, according to L.A. Times, whether she was a registered nurse, licensed vocational nurse or certified nursing assistant. This could have a bearing on the woman’s professional responsibility to patients in need of medical care, despite company protocol.

Glenwood Gardens said in Monday’s statement that the nurse who dialed 911 was acting as the facility’s director of resident services at the time of the call, not as a nurse on duty.

Brookdale Senior Living has not responded to SHN’s request for comment as of press time.

Written by Jason Oliva


Category: Independent Living, Senior Care, Senior Living

Comments (2)

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  1. Chris_Foley says:

    It's been attributed to Arthur Schlesinger (writer and political assistant to President Kennedy) that "The problems of today are caused by the solutions of yesterday" and the policy adopted by independent living facilities are the result of solving yesterday's (and today's) problems. _Maybe the policy was addressing problems such as other residents being injured while attempting to aid someone, or a resident in distress who is instead injured by attempted assistance. _Beyond the headlines, the real issue isn't to have a specific government regulation so that "this (insert problem) never happens again," but rather a more full picture of how people and companies can best address complicated life and care issues. _Chris Foley_Sr. V. P._Equity National Seniors Housing Brokerage & Advisors_ cfoley@Equity.net

  2. D Wiltsee says:

    Jeffrey Toomer should make it abundantly clear to prospective residents and their caregivers that staff will not employ even basic CPR in the event of an emergency, for fear of liability considerations. Good God, you don't have to be a licensed medical provider to use your sense of humanity and 2 hours of Red Cross CPR training to save a life. These people have no business being in this business. Protocol, my a**.