Patient Wanders (Elopes) from Nursing Home and Falls to Her Death

An 87-year-old nursing home patient was recently permitted by the facility to wander (elope) outside and fall four feet to her death from a loading dock.  The patient sustained massive massive head injuries as a result of the fall.  Shortly after the fall, the nursing home installed a fence around the loading dock.  The state department of health is investigating.

The nursing home was recently ranked by Medicare's five-star rating system as one of the worst nursing homes in the country.  The nursing home received deficiencies in two recent state inspections for accident and supervision problems.  One deficiency involved a patient who was noted to be "outside the building."  Read more about tragedy at the troubled nursing home.

The tragedy of this patient's death probably started with understaffing that prevented adequate supervision of the patient's whereabouts.  The patient also probably was not provided with a wander alarm that would have alerted staff when the patient approached exits within the facility and points of danger, like the door to the loading dock.  The tragedy came full circle when the facility's staff failed to notice the patient was no longer on the floor.  This family's patient needs to be aware of what the facility's owners, operators, and staff already know -- this tragedy could and should have been prevented.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia