Earlier this month, an Ohio grand jury indicted three nursing home aides in connection with the death of an elderly resident who wandered off from the nursing home where the aides worked. Four employees of the nursing home were terminated after the incident.
The 76-year-old nursing home resident had dementia and a history of wandering off from the nursing home. She reportedly told a nursing home aide earlier in the day that “I’m going home.” The resident reportedly was found in the courtyard of the nursing home twice during the week before she eloped from the nursing home and died.
The Ohio Department of Health’s investigation determined that shortly after midnight on January 7, 2018, the resident, who lived in the memory unit of the nursing home, exited the facility through a door in the dining room that had been propped open and then exited through a door to an outside couryard. Despite wearing a device on her clothing that should have triggered an alarm as she exited the nursing home, it was later determined that the alarm system did not always work.
The resident was not found outside in the courtyard, about thirty feet from the door, until about eight hours later, when the nursing home staff finally realized that the resident had eloped from the facility. The temperature outside during the night had dipped to around zero degrees. The elderly woman’s death was determined to be due to hypothermia. It was determined that she had died about one to two hours after she had left the nursing home.
Two of the indicted nursing home aides were each charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter based on the grand jury’s finding that their actions were associated with gross patient neglect and patient neglect. The two nursing home aides were also each charged with one count of forgery for allegedly documenting false bed checks (they reportedly admitted to documenting bed checks at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. even though the bed checks had not been performed), and one count of gross patient neglect and one count of patient neglect for their alleged reckless failure to provide treatment, care, or service necessary for the resident’s survival, resulting in the resident’s death.
The third former nursing home employee was charged with one count of forgery based on her alleged documenting a false bed check, and one count of gross patient neglect and one count of patient neglect.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in Ohio or in another U.S. state due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, nursing home under-staffing, a nursing home fall, or nursing home elopement, you should promptly find a nursing home claim lawyer in your state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf or behalf of your loved one, if appropriate.
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