Assisted living nurses want to perform limited health services

Some elderly people are forced to prematurely move to a nursing home

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Assisted living nurses are limited in the services they can provide. They can’t even apply eye-drops. They want to be able to perform injections and wound care to residents, but some believe that would be “unsafe.”

Assisted living nurses are calling on state lawmakers to pass a law that would allow them to perform non-invasive health services. The Massachusetts Assisted Living Facilities Association President Richard Moore said such a law would allow the growing senior population to live more independently.

He said, “They tend to have – be older and have more health needs than the generation before them when assisted living started about thirty years ago.”

Right now, those in assisted living residences must either hire a registered nurse or travel off-site to a doctor’s office for insulin injections, would care and to replace catheters. The process has forced some elderly people to move into a nursing home way too early, according to one assisted living nurse.

“Assisted living residences should have the ability to choose to offer these services. Our seniors deserve to stay in the assisted living residences they now call home at end of life,” said Fran Rybicki.

Not everyone agrees. Robert Larkin helped create one of the state’s first assisted living residences. Larkin argues that these nurses aren’t equipped to carry-out these services.

“Right now, there’s no regulatory oversight of those nurses, and so what this bill would do I think is unsafe,” said Larkin of Senior Living Residences.

State lawmakers have until the end of next week to decide whether this bill will move forward, or die in committee.

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