ARIZONA NEWS

New Arizona law requires lifesaving measures in assisted living facilities

May 7, 2021, 4:45 AM | Updated: 6:36 am
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Caregivers in Arizona are now obligated by law to perform lifesaving measures if a patient experiences a medical emergency while inside an assisted living facility.

Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this week signed SB1373 into law, requiring assisted living facilities and their employees to have an affirmative duty of care for their residents.

That includes basic life support of initiating immediate cardiac resuscitation before firefighters or other emergency medical services arrive in accordance with the resident’s advance directives and do-not-resuscitate order.

“What all of us as first responders hope is that the six to eight minutes before the firetruck arrives, is that everything possible is being done, everything that’s necessary for that patient’s outcome,” firefighter Steve Wagner told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday. “That’s what we hope this will accomplish.”

Wagner is one of the thousands of Arizona firefighters who supported the bill.

With 19 years on a firetruck, Wagner has responded to several 911 calls connected to the issue this bill works to fix.

He grew frustrated seeing the lack of care given within facilities because they did not want to face the liability involved with lifesaving measures or picking a person up who had fallen on the ground.

Both the Phoenix and Glendale fire departments said that fall injuries account for the highest number of dispatches for their trucks in the Valley.

Caregivers and other staff within assisted living facilities now have an affirmative duty to treat a person based on their medical requests.

“We want to save savable lives and we want to honor wishes of those who have advanced directives and we want to improve outcomes,” Wagner said.

Wagner in 2010 created the RightCare Foundation which works to create community engagement to better equip organizations and individuals with best practices to respond to cardiac arrest and advocates for time-critical pre-EMS care.

In accordance with the bill, proper lifesaving measure training is expected for all caregivers in Arizona.

Caregivers in Arizona prior to the new law were required to be CPR certified and first-aid trained, but they were not mandated to use it.

The Arizona Senate supported the bill 29-1 and the House 60-0.

The bill was supported by AARP, multiple cities in Arizona and the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, according to AZleg.gov.

Arizona Assisted Living Federation of America, the AZ Health Care Association and the Arizona Assisted Living Homes Association were among those who opposed the bill.

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New Arizona law requires lifesaving measures in assisted living facilities