Dementia Patient’s Wandering Leads to Death—Nursing Home Fined $20K for Negligence

In a recent Talbot County, Maryland nursing home lawyer blog, our attorneys discussed a devastating nursing home wandering case, that was allegedly caused by negligence and resulted in the resident’s wrongful death.

Nursing home wandering frequently occurs with residents who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and suffer from confusion and disorientation. It is important for nursing homes to recognize residents who are at-risk for nursing home wandering and falls to prevent patient injury or wrongful death.

In another tragic nursing home wandering case, a home was recently fined over $20,000 after an elderly blind resident with dementia wandered from the Kernersville home and drowned in a puddle around 200 feet away from the facility.

The resident reportedly approached the staff in the home’s lobby three times late in the evening, each time in a disoriented state, wanting someone to take her across the creek to the next county. The staff reportedly took the resident back to her bed each time, where she remained until they did the 2 a.m. bed check.

According to the state investigation, the resident left the building sometime between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. The alarm on the door did not turn off, as it had been reportedly deactivated so staff could go outside for smoking breaks. The staff allegedly neglected to turn the alarm back on.

The resident’s cause of death was ruled as drowning, with dementia and hypothermia listed as other contributing factors.

The investigators fined the home for three code violations regarding physical environment, supervision and personal care—in failing to prevent residents who were disoriented and at-risk for wandering behaviors from leaving the building unattended. The home dismissed the five employees and spent around $10,000 reviewing and improving nursing home wandering procedures.

Lebowitz and Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers represent victims of nursing home negligence. Call our attorneys today at 1-800-654-1949 for a free consultation about your rights.

Kernersville nursing home fined $20,000 over drowning death of wandering resident, Winston-Salem Journal, May 31, 2011

Related Web Resources:

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

Maryland Department of Aging

Related Blog Posts:

Nursing Home Staff Tries to Initiate Sexual Behavior Between Two Dementia Residents for Amusement, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, April 6, 2011
Negligence Lawsuit Settlement Reached—Home Sued After Wandering Veteran, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, December 1, 2010

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