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Lawsuit Settled Against Nursing Home After They Allowed Woman To Disappear and Die

The son of a woman whose body was found 9 months after wandering from The Wesley Residence nursing home in West Duluth, Minnesota has finally received justice. In 2013, Mark Gerard’s mother, Dale Gerard, was 74 years old and suffering from dementia, as well as behaviors that were considered aggressive and dangerous to herself. She was considered to be at risk for wandering, so much so that she was required to be accompanied both inside and outside of the facility and wore a device called a WanderGuard. A WanderGuard is designed to alert staff when a resident has left their room or designated space.

In July 2013, Ms. Gerard disappeared from The Wesley Residence. 9 fruitless months of searching went by, with the police calling on the public for help in locating her. In April 2014, her mummified body was found caught in a fence just 3 miles from the nursing home.

Nursing Home Admits Liability
The Wesley Residence and its parent company, At Home Living Facilities of Hermantown, admitted that they were negligent in allowing Dale Gerard to leave their facility, as well as for failing to equip all doors with a WanderGuard alarm. The lawsuit was set to be tried before a jury earlier this month and the facility likely knew that a jury would not look favorably upon their inability to safeguard residents with known mental conditions that were prone to wandering.

The amount of the settlement has not been disclosed but the attorney for Ms. Gerard’s son is hopeful that by bringing awareness to issues in nursing homes, facilities will be moved to adopt policies and make changes that will prevent future families from suffering similar fates.

Levin & Perconti: Experienced Nursing Home Attorneys
For over 25 years, the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Levin & Perconti have worked with families whose loved ones have eloped from or wandered within nursing homes and care facilities.

The consequences of negligently allowing a nursing home resident to elope from or wander within a nursing home are dire. Injuries such as suicides, accidental falling in hallways and down stairwells, run-ins with fellow residents who are meant to be isolated, freezing in cold outdoor temperatures, and other tragedies can be the result of allowing free, unsupervised movement of a nursing home resident.

If you have a loved one who has been injured or killed as a result of a nursing home’s inability to provide the level of watchful care that is deserved, please contact us for a free consultation.