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Tampa Car Accident Lawyers > Blog > Nursing Home Abuse > Family Sues After Memory Care Patient Wanders Off Nursing Home Premises and Dies

Family Sues After Memory Care Patient Wanders Off Nursing Home Premises and Dies


A grieving family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a Portland nursing home after their loved one died on Christmas Day of last year. The 83-year-old grandmother died of exposure after living at the facility for only one day. According to police accounts, she managed to slip out of the unfenced building early on Christmas Eve. Police say that they weren’t notified for more than 6 hours. The delay may have cost the woman her life.

The nursing home was later shut down in January. State regulators with the Department of Human Services cited the nursing home for a litany of problems that included failing to adequately care for patients and improper handling of their medication.

The family is also suing state regulators for missing obvious signs that the nursing home was unsafe. The plaintiffs claim that the nursing home was woefully understaffed and lacked a licensed full-time administrator. These were obvious red flags that state regulators missed and it ended up costing the life of a patient for authorities to recognize how deep the issues ran.

The family is seeking more than $10 million in damages from both the State of Oregon and the nursing home’s owner, a Portland real estate agent who has little experience running memory care centers, according to a state report.

According to state records, the nursing home opened its doors in March 2023 and in that time, they cycled through three executive directors. At the time of the plaintiff’s death, the nursing home was managed by a bookkeeper with no college degree.

Elopement in the context of nursing homes 

When a patient wanders off the grounds of a nursing home, that is called elopement. Elopement is grounds for a lawsuit against a nursing home. It is particularly a problem at memory care facilities that house dementia patients. Such facilities should have elopement-specific prevention procedures in place to prevent their patients from absconding from the facility. In many cases, the patient doesn’t know what they’re doing or where they’re going. In the case mentioned above, the patient froze to death as a result of being exposed to the elements for a long time.

Memory care facilities must have procedures in place to prevent patients from eloping from the facility. This includes knowing which patients have prior elopement histories, identifying patients who are elopement risks, and evaluating the patients’ elopement histories to create individualized prevention strategies to keep them on the premises.

In the case mentioned above, the facility didn’t even have a fence around it to prevent the patients from wandering off the grounds.

Talk to a Tampa, FL Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today 

The Tampa, FL personal injury attorneys at The Matassini Law Firm represent the interests of plaintiffs who have sustained injury due to the negligence of another party. We also help grieving families file wrongful death lawsuits against nursing homes for neglect and abuse. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



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