Articles Posted in Wandering

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nursing home attorneys

Elopement Serves as Most Dangerous Type of Wandering During Winter Months

Several U.S. states either just encountered or are preparing for one of the most intense artic cold blasts in the last decade. Extreme weather events like this can greatly impact nursing home residents who are at risk of wandering outside of a care facility or eloping, a dangerous form of wandering. The Illinois Alzheimer’s Association says wandering represents one of many behavioral problems occurring in 6 out of 10 people living with Alzheimer’s across the state. These people tend to wander and aimlessly move about their environment without regard of their personal safety. During the cold weather seasons, nursing home administrators and care staff, as well as family members, should ensure these residents and loved ones stay safe and are prevented from wandering outdoors, especially when extreme temperature changes are present.

The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners reports the most dangerous type of wandering, called elopement, occurs when a patient attempts to completely leave the nursing home and wander outside. This is a difficult type of wandering to confront, as patients may be unable to grasp the situation and understand the actual surroundings and environmental risks. Patients are often hurt or killed while eloping, especially during the cold weather months as they are not dressed to stay warm against freezing temperatures.

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The most profitable area of real estate right now isn’t hotels, trendy restaurants, or even high rise living. For a real estate investor, the safest return on investment is putting money into senior living facilities. According to the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries, in the past 10 years the highest property returns have been on senior housing developments.


Alzheimer’s Rates Expected to Skyrocket

The assisted living housing market, especially those properties with designated memory care facilities, is growing at a rapid pace, partly to keep up with the increasing number of seniors expected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Today, an estimated 5.7 people are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, the Alzheimer’s Association expects that number to jump to 14 million, with 1 American developing Alzheimer’s every 65 seconds. The disease is an epidemic and savvy real estate investors are aware that putting their money into senior housing is likely to yield great financial returns.

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It’s a tragic end to a story that should have never happened. On Monday, Chicago Police discovered the body of Ernestine Booker, a 67-year-old woman suffering from dementia who disappeared from her Bronzeville nursing home on October 23rd. Ms. Booker’s body was found at the Sykes Center, a now-closed Advocate outpatient healthcare center at 2545 S. King Drive, approximately 2.5 miles from the nursing home from which she disappeared. The cause of death has not yet been released, but Chicago Police said there is no evidence of a homicide.

While the full details of her disappearance have not been shared with the public, we do know that Ms. Booker left her nursing home unnoticed around 11 a.m. Her family notified the police that same day and Chicago police asked for the public’s assistance in locating her.

When families place their loved ones in the care of a nursing home, the minimum expectation is that the nursing home will keep track of their whereabouts. As we shared in an earlier post, residents with dementia are more prone to wandering a facility or eloping (leaving).

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A 67-year-old female nursing home resident suffering from dementia has been missing from her Bronzeville nursing home since Tuesday. She was last seen at the facility in the 400 block of E. 41st Street, near E. 41st St and Cottage Grove Avenue on Tuesday, October 23rd at 11 a.m.

The south side nursing home from which she disappeared has not been named.

The family is asking for the public’s help in locating Ernestine Booker. She is a black woman, 67 years old, 5 foot 3 inches tall, and approximately 150 pounds. Chicago Police say she was reported as last wearing a large red knit hat, a denim jacket, black pants and black shoes.  Her photo can be seen here.

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“They get into trouble, they fix things up just enough to get back into compliance and then they let things slip again. This cycle just goes on for years. Meanwhile, there are people living in these places.”

-Toby Edelman, senior policy attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy to the Lexington Herald-Leader

A tragic story out of a northern Kentucky nursing and rehabilitation center has reignited a topic that we know causes a great deal of confusion and frustration for the loved ones of nursing home residents. How does one find out who the owners of a nursing home actually are and what their history of patient care is? The details of the wrongful death case of 45-year-old Bobby Crail help highlight the ability of nursing homes to repeatedly get away with maltreatment and even skirt financial and legal responsibility. It also highlights why if your loved one has been mistreated, abused, or neglected in a nursing home, you need an attorney who has both the experience and tenacity to successfully stand up to major corporations capable of these horrific behaviors.

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Last year, a 75 year old man suffering from Alzheimer’s was aggressively arrested and pepper sprayed after he was discovered wandering within the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, NJ. He was left blind as a result of the pepper spray and spent the last 10 months of his life never again able to see his daughters. According to a lawsuit filed this month in Passaic County court, Angel Pantoja was freely roaming the halls at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehab, where he was a resident. For unknown reasons, nursing home staff alerted local police that a resident was on the loose within the facility, exaggerating his behavioral and health status enough to lead police to believe that forceful arrest measures were necessary. When the responding officer came across Mr. Pantoja in a hallway, they claimed he was carrying an unidentified weapon and advancing towards the officer, justifying his use of pepper spray. The pepper spray blinded him, a pre-arrest tactic that the lawyer for his estate deemed unnecessary. As a result, Mr. Pantoja was hospitalized and was blind until he died 10 months later. He was also arrested and charged with assault, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. The responding officer said in a statement that he was led to believe that Mr. Pantoja was dangerous because the facility told him Mr. Pantoja had stabbed one of his own daughters in the eye, a claim his daughter denies.

While family acknowledges that the pepper spray was not Mr. Pantoja’s cause of death, the complaint filed by his family against both the local police and the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehab says they are seeking damages for their father having to “sustain mental anguish, distress and damage. [He] was never able to open his eyes again and was not able to see his daughters in his time of passing.”

Local Police Trained to Handle Situations Involving Those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

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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

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The Chicago Tribune reported that former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood discovered the body of a 40-year-old nursing home resident while he was paddle boarding in Lake Michigan on Monday morning. According to reports, the baseball star immediately called 911. Soon after pulling the man’s body out of the water, detectives were able to identify him thanks to an I.D. tag on his wrist.

The name of the victim has not yet been released, but most of the initial reports we’ve seen say that the man lived in a North Side Chicago nursing home but was reported missing after being discharged from a local hospital on June 19. Current reports have not revealed where the victim lived, but there are a number of facilities located in the Edgewater neighborhood surrounding the 5400 block of North Broadway, including All American Nursing Home and Bryn Mawr Care.

Without knowing more about this particular case, it is difficult to say who, if anyone, is responsible for his wandering and ultimate death. Through our work with nursing home residents and their families, we have handled a number of cases involving resident elopement or wandering. Many nursing home residents who suffer from dementia or mental illness pose an elopement risk, and nursing homes are obligated to provide proper supervision and assistance to reduce this risk. Residents who are unfit to leave the facility but do so may face serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Therefore facilities must be sufficiently staffed with employees who are properly trained to care for residents who have a tendency to wander.

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The Chicago Tribune reported today on disturbing news out of a Chicago nursing home. Staff members at the Alshore Nursing Home recently explained that one of their elderly residents went missing from the facility on Friday morning.

The 79-year old female resident was last seen by nursing home staff members around 9 a.m. She was walking around with an unidentified man who appeared to be in his sixties. The resident told staff members that the man was her brother; she then left the facility with him. However, it was eventually discovered that the woman does not have a brother. It is unclear how the staff members could have failed to properly identify the stranger before he left with the woman.

Police are looking for help locating the woman. She stands 4-foot 9 inches, and has brown hair and eyes. The nursing home where she was last seen is located on the 2800 block of West Foster Avenue. She suffers from diabetes on is on medication to treat it. She also may be suffering from dementia.
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A new nursing home lawsuit has recently been filed alleging misconduct following the tragic death of a 71-year-old nursing home resident

Nancy Kinder was living at the Hunter Acres Caring Center, reports KSPR News. However, while at the facility staff members did not provide the proper oversight and close care that Nancy needed. In mid-March of this year that negligent care ultimately led to Nancy’s death.

On March 18th Nancy was found dead near railroad tracks that ran close to the nursing home. At some point in the day, she had wandered out of Hunter Acres and stumbled onto the tracks where she was hit.