As some Illinois families may have experienced, taking care of a parent or grandparent with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can be a challenging task, especially when adult children are working full-time jobs and also raising their own families. When a loved one’s illness has progressed to the point where he or she may need constant care, families may choose to put their loved one in a nursing home. When families make this decision, they trust that the selected facility will provide the constant care and attention that their loved one needs and deserves.
Unfortunately, the daughters of a Belleville, Illinois, nursing home patient learned last month that their father had died of hypothermia after the facility’s staff failed to notice that the man had left the home unattended. The daughters have since hired an attorney and may pursue filing a lawsuit against the nursing home citing negligence for the wrongful death of their father. “He was not supposed to die that way,” stated one of the daughters.
The 77-year-old man had been a patient at the Belleville nursing home for seven years. He suffered from dementia and heart disease, conditions that can be life-threatening if not treated and monitored properly. But somehow in the afternoon on Jan. 14, the man left the home without anyone noticing.
When staff at the facility noticed that the patient was missing, they called police. However, the daughters were not notified about their father’s disappearance until three hours after the incident was reported to police.
After searching the area for two days, the man’s body was found in a ravine just a block away from the facility. Police reported that the dementia patient had walked into a heavily wooded area and died of hypothermia before he was found.
The attorney representing the man’s family said that the patient should have never been able to leave the nursing home without being noticed by staff or security guards. The incident is being investigated. Once the family finds out more information about what happened the day their father disappeared, they will take appropriate actions to make sure that this does not happen to any other residents at the Illinois facility, the attorney stated.
Source: Belleville News-Democrat, “‘He was not supposed to die that way’: Daughters hire lawyer after father’s death near nursing home,” Kevin Bersett, Jan. 20, 2012