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Nursing home abuse alleged after woman freezes to death

Illinois families trust that their relatives will receive appropriate care and service when they are placed in a local nursing home. Sadly, this is not always the case, as scores of elderly residents suffer nursing home abuse and neglect every year. Individuals who suffer from Alzheimer's may be particularly vulnerable to nursing home neglect because of the nature of their disease. Now, family members of an 88-year-old woman who died after freezing outside her retirement home are seeking financial compensation against the facility where she was housed. 

Official reports show that the woman was found in an outdoor courtyard at her Alzheimer's care center during the early morning hours on Dec. 6. The temperature at the time was just 28 degrees, and authorities are not clear how long she had been outside. An 11 p.m. bed check confirmed that the woman was inside at that time.

The woman had been living in the center for nearly three years, and she had suffered from Alzheimer's for six years. This was not the first time that the woman left the building at night; earlier in her residency, she had walked out to the courtyard and fallen down, injuring herself. Even though the woman's husband had pleaded for administrators to install an alarm on the door to the courtyard, they refused to do so. The couple had known each other for 70 years, and they had been married for nearly 68 years.

Alzheimer's patients suffer from dementia that can leave them confused and disoriented. As a consequence, they must be carefully monitored to prevent injury. The nursing home in this case clearly showed improper supervision techniques, ultimately leading to the victim's death. Relatives of such victims deserve financial compensation for wrongful death in such instances of nursing home death.

Source: The Daily News Online, "Legal action in the works over woman's death at care facility" Barbara LaBoe, Dec. 13, 2013

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