It is hard enough to have to put a loved one into a nursing home, but at least you should be able to count on the staff of the facility to keep your family member safe. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, as exemplified by the tragic death of a 75-year-old Kansas City man with Alzheimer’s who wandered out of his nursing home recently.
On July 22, the man left his nursing home and managed to travel more than a mile and a half away before dying face down in a creek bed. A witness stated that he saw someone matching the man’s description around 11:30 a.m., and the man was reported missing by nursing home staff at noon. The police searched for the man in 100-degree weather for nearly nine hours before he was found dead. The police stated that there were no indications of foul play.
The man, who had left the nursing home unattended before, was wearing an ankle monitor, but it was only set to ring an alarm from the bracelet itself instead of inside the nursing home.
Nursing homes can be held liable for the “elopement” of residents. Typically, a civil case alleging negligence, including wrongful death, is brought against nursing homes for such instances. The injured party or his/her family member needs to be able to prove:
- That the owner or employees of the nursing home owed a certain duty of care to the resident;
- That the owner or employees of the nursing home breached this duty of care owed to the resident; and
- That the resident’s injury or death was caused by this breach.
If you have a family member who has been harmed or killed due to the negligence of a nursing home, it is best to arm yourself with the facts of the situation and seek out all possible legal remedies.
Source: Kansascity.com, “Missing Alzheimer’s patient found dead in Northland creek,” 7/23/2012