Arden Courts Assisted Living Resident Found Frozen Outside Facility
We are saddened to learn about the tragic death of a man at the Arden Courts of Cherry Hill assisted living/memory care facility. The gentleman left the facility going into the freezing cold night and, according to news reports, was not found for at least two hours in the facility’s courtyard. While legal authorities investigate how this resident suffering with dementia was able to leave the facility undetected in the middle of the night on March 5th, it is a reminder that the most important job a nursing home or assisted living facility has is to protect its residents and provide for their safety and security. This is most important with residents that have Dementia, Alzheimer’s and other diagnoses that prevent them from understanding their own safety needs.
Elopement and Wandering from Elder Care Facilities Represents Real Danger for Residents
New Jersey’s Nursing Home Bill of Rights and federal law requires nursing homes to provide a safe and secure environment to prevent injury. This includes monitoring residents moving about the nursing home to prevent them from leaving, also known as elopement. Reports and data show that when residents are somehow allowed to leave a nursing home/assisted living/memory care unit, this often results in deaths from drowning, freezing/hypothermia, and being struck by cars.
How Nursing Homes Can Stop Elopement Injury and Death
Nursing homes are required to examine and evaluate each resident for the possibility of elopement and to take action to prevent this from occurring. This is equally true for memory care units and assisted living homes. Facility staff must provide adequate supervision for all residents and security at all exits, especially in evening hours when less nursing staff is on duty. It should maintain adequate monitors and alarm systems, and all residents deemed at risk for elopement or flight from the facility should be provided with special bracelets or alarms – sometimes called “Wandergard bracelets” – and closer supervision when not in their rooms. This is the facility’s job and it’s the law.