Nursing Home Pays $20,000 Fine After Resident's Death

A nursing home has paid a $20,000 state fine and fired five employees after an incident in 2009 in which a blind female resident with dementia drowned in a puddle about 200 feet away, state records show. The resident left the facility between 2 and 4 a.m. through a door with the alarm turned off on November 12, 2009, a state report said. She was reported missing at 4:15 a.m. After the facility notified police and the residents family, a family member found her lying face down in water about 2 inches deep, the report said.

Employees told investigators that the exit alarms were often turned off to allow workers to take smoking breaks, the report said. the State Division of Health Service Regulation issued the fine in November 2010 which was paid in January. The 59-bed facility was found in violation of three codes regarding physical environment, personal care and supervision, and resident rights.

The resident's cause of death was ruled as drowning, with hypothermia and dementia listed as contributing factors.
Investigators determined that the third-shift supervisor was not aware of the alarm and that it required being activated at 9 p.m. According to the report, the home dismissed five employees and spent at least $10,000 reviewing and revising their policies. For more, read the story.



Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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