On a cold November night, a 92-year-old woman wandered away from her care facility and died, drowning in a puddle a mere 200 feet from her home. This tragic incident points to the fact that nursing home neglect is a very real and serious situation.
When you place someone you love in a nursing home or elder care facility, you do so with the understanding that they will be cared for as you would if you had the ability to care for them at home. You expect to have protections in place to ensure they are healthy and watched after. The reason you place them there is because you do not have the resources to watch them properly at home on your own, so you ask for help.
Nursing homes need to be vigilant in ensuring that residents are receiving the care they deserve and that you are paying for. In the case of the woman who died, she escaped the facility through a door that should have had an alarm. The alarm, which was disabled during the day, was never reset at the 9 p.m., as it should have been. Due to her dementia, the woman wandered away. She was not wearing an alarm band because, according to the facility, she was not "prone to wandering."
Several staff members were fired as a result of the resident's death, but that does not replace the life of a loved one. If you face a similar situation, remember that you have legal rights whenever you suspect elder neglect or abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Source: Winston-Salem Journal, "Kernersville nursing-home patient who drowned in puddle identified," Richard Craver, 6/3/2011