Resident Wandering Leads to Death

Sarah Wentworth, 89, died at an Itasca, NY nursing home after she wandered into the courtyard and froze to death. A nurse assistant has been charged with negligence in the death of the 89-year-old nursing home resident.

Before dawn on February 5, Wentworth wandered down a hall and out a door into the subfreezing cold. She was wearing only her bed clothes. She eventually collapsed and froze to death in a courtyard. She had an alarm on her ankle, which went off when she left the building but her caretaker allegedly was watching television and didn’t check when hearing the alarm. If convicted, she could face up three to seven years in jail.

This is not the first nor probably the last incident of patient wandering in a facility. When evaluating facilities, find out their protocols for handling such situations. And question whether they have unannounced drills for staff to practice for such emergencies.