State Finds Neglect led to Nursing Home Residents Wandering

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on April 17, 2015 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Updated on April 25, 2024

wandering and elopement in nursing homes

An investigative report conducted by the State of Minnesota found the wandering of a Big Lake nursing home resident last January to have been the result of the facility’s neglect.

The report was made public April 15, and it concludes that the Cherrywood Advanced Living facility was negligent in its care when an unidentified resident wandered outside in below-freezing temperatures, which caused her to sustain frostbite on her fingers. She was later transported to a hospital for her injuries, which included hypothermia.

The owner of Cherrywood Advanced Living, which has offices in Sauk Rapids and facilities in St. Cloud, Richmond, Andover and Big Lake, said that the incident was an isolated one.

“Obviously it was a very bad situation but we took steps immediately after to secure the building not only that one but all of our locations have been secured,” Wendy Hulsebus said.

According to the report, the resident had a history of attempted wandering and elopement. She had already tried to exit the facility unattended a total of six times in the five months she was a resident at the home.

The hospital that treated the resident determined that she had been outside for roughly 25 minutes while the temperature was at least four degrees below zero with a windchill of -24 degrees.

At the time of the incident, a door alert system was in place that may have had a few flaws. If multiple doors were opening and closing while residents in separate areas of the home were entering and exiting as normal, an additional alert may not have been heard by a free attendant; another possibility is that, at the time the resident exited and the alert was sounded, no nurse aides were free to find her.

Hulsebus contends that by securing the property and by updating the alert system, the facility has ensured that an incident like this will never happen again.

At Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice, our Milwaukee nursing home abuse lawyers know that it doesn’t take more than a moment of carelessness to cause a lifetime of harm to the family of a nursing home resident. Thankfully, the woman in this story survived, but many victims of abuse and neglect are not so lucky.

If your suspect abuse of your elderly loved one, of if the nursing home care they are receiving appears to be negligent, contact a personal injury attorney from our firm today for help.

Call  414-333-3333 or fill out our free case evaluation form.

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