Geriatric Nursing Program Has Too Many Unanswered Questions For Some Council Members

November 11, 2008

The proposal for a geriatric nurse for the city of West U. has been sent to the Senior Board for further review and discussion as council members still have too many questions to approve the plan, even as a pilot program. Council will hold a workshop in the near future to hear a presentation clarifying the details of the program.

The concept involves having a certified nurse who will check on the welfare of at-risk seniors in the city. The idea has been discussed since last year, after a group from the Senior Board and the Good Neighbor Team went to an elderly resident’s home to do some housecleaning. The resident was found on the living room floor, in need of medical attention.

The proposal estimates the program to cost the city $13,000 annually. The nurse is estimated to work five hours weekly at $50 an hour. Maureen Beck made presentation to council, and offered her services as a geriatric nurse practitioner to fill the position. Additional costs would include a doctor providing oversight, a cost that has not been estimated. A doctor in the medical center has expressed interest in the program.

In making the presentation to council at the Nov. 10 meeting, Councilman Chuck Guffey said that if a resident was found in critical condition, Adult Protective Services could be asked to step in.

“If someone is in bad condition in the city, the Adult Protective Services will go to court,” said Guffey.

“I am not sure I really understand what the person (nurse) would do and what role they have,” said Councilwoman Phyllis Cohen. “I think we are getting into a situation where we are intervening in someone’s life who may not want us to intervene in their life…are we getting involved with someone’s medical care and treatment? I understand it is a noble idea, but I don’t think it is practical. I am concerned about starting down the path of this type of program without more clarity.”

The legal aspects and liability of the city were also brought up. Bob Fry said he is still not comfortable with the idea, and would like to schedule another workshop.

“I had a lot of open ends I wasn’t too comfortable with, and I’m still that way,” said Fry.

Councilman Michael Talianchich supported the program, and said that it was a great idea, and would be worth the effort if it means a life could be saved.

Council will meet again to hold a workshop on the subject once it has been revisited by the Senior Board.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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