The Des Moines police department is investigating the death of a 95-year-old nursing home resident who went missing on Monday night. Helen Jensen, age 95, was found dead about 100 yards from the nursing home where she lived.
According to a report on King5.com, Jensen went missing from the Wesley Homes Health Care Center about 11:30pm Monday night. Staff at Wesley did not call the police until about 2:30am. Police searched for Jensen about 45 minutes before they found her lying on the ground about 100 yards away from the nursing home at 100 S 216th Street in Des Moines.
Police looked at video surveillance tapes and saw that Jensen had left the nursing home in her wheel chair at about 11:45pm.
If Jensen died of exposure or hypothermia, which is the death of someone who was exposed to extreme temperatures, this may be a case of nursing home neglect.
Families whose loved ones have died because of nursing home neglect may have a valid wrongful death claim. Cases like this one are terrible tragedies but they may be a symptom of a nursing home being understaffed or not having the skill to recognize a patient who is apt to wander or elope. A nursing home’s first and foremost responsibility is to insure patient safety.
Nursing home staff need to be educated about patient’s who are at risk for wandering. There are steps a care facility can take like using electronic alarms which notifies staff when a patient leaves a safe area. A nursing home or assisted living home should also have an emergency preparedness plan which should be put into place as soon as a patient is missing.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured by nursing home abuse or neglect and the families of those who have died.