Resident Dies After Wandering from New Mexico Nursing Home
On Dec. 20, a 91-year-old nursing home resident in Edgewood New Mexico died after wandering away from her nursing home facility without staff noticing.
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Just after midnight, camera footage at BeeHive Homes of Edgewood captured the woman walking out the backdoor of the facility. She wandered around the property in camera view for more than 30 minutes before vanishing from sight.
The caregivers at the home did not realize she was missing until 7:30 a.m., and it took another hour before they found her body “cold and unresponsive,” according to a state report on the incident.
The woman’s death came less than two months after an Oct. 30 complaint was filed with the Health Department alleging that improper care contributed to the death of another resident. It took the department more than three months to complete an inspection of the facility, during which time the 91-year-old dementia patient wandered from the facility.
Since then, the Edgewater Police Department and the District Attorney have conducted their own investigations, in addition to the Health Department’s report, which was released June 29.
In its report, the Health Department found that the 30 residents at BeeHive Homes of Edgewood were at “risk for harm, abuse, neglect or exploitation” as a result of improper care. It found that the home had 14 violations of state regulations and that it failed to follow its own policy that required staff to regularly check on patients, especially those with dementia who tend to wander.
Other findings included that the facility did not conduct proper background checks or provide proper training for staff, failed to document medications given to patients, did not evaluate and update patient’s care plans based on their health, and failed to protect patient’s rights overall.
Wisconsin and New Mexico Elopement Attorneys
Unfortunately, fatal incidents of wandering and elopement are not uncommon in nursing homes that fail to provide adequate care and attention to residents. Patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are especially prone to wandering and require close supervision to ensure they do not wander away from a facility.
The firm recently represented a case similar to the New Mexico incident. In January 2013, an elderly woman froze to death after wandering from her Appleton assisted living facility. She wandered around the facility grounds in view of surveillance video for 30 minutes, but staff did not notice she was missing until several hours later.