Nursing home neglect, a wrongful death, a sloppy attempt at a cover-up and a lot of unanswered questions are, sadly, all too common in nursing homes during the holiday season. It’s not uncommon for nursing home residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease to try to leave the facility.
The practice is called “elopement.” When they’re unhappy where they are, they try to leave. Often that means walking right out the front door. Obviously, nursing homes are supposed to have staff members watching the door, but during the overnight shifts when staffing levels are at a bare minimum and most of the residents are sleeping, the doors are frequently left unwatched.
The nursing home initially told her 89-year-old husband that she had died of a heart attack, a lazy cover-up that was quickly dismissed when the coroner revealed hypothermia to be the cause of death.
It’s unclear if the resident tried to get back into the building but was locked out, or if she never was able to find the doors. Although it would seem the height of incompetence to have doors unlocked from the inside but locked from the outside on a bitterly cold night, it happens more frequently than most people would believe.
All the information released clearly indicates that this was a wrongful death caused by nursing home neglect. Nevertheless, the family would be wise to contact an experienced nursing home lawyer. Unless the nursing home is made to pay for its mistakes, there will never be an incentive to change its actions.