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Woman Tragically Dies of Hypothermia at an Assisted Living Facility

By Josh Silverman on January 09, 2014


Residents in assisted living facilities frequently suffer from a decline in cognitive function.  It can be due to dementia including Alzheimer's disease, mental illness, or brain injury.  Assisted living facilities are required to develop an individualized service plan (ISP) to address a resident's needs.  In many cases, the danger is wandering or "eloping" from the facility.  

This morning a read about a tragic case of a Wisconsin assisted living facility resident who climbed out her bedroom window and froze to death.  Here is a link to the article.  Similar events have happened here in Virginia.  As we all have experienced the last few days, even in the South, we experience dangerously cold temperatures at times.  Resident elopement is one of the leading causes of serious injuries or death.  The injuries tend to come from two causes: getting hit by a car and exposure like in this case.

A few years ago I represented a woman who died of hypothermia at a Richmond, Virginia assisted living facility.  The case settled but the exact events are still a mystery.  She was reportedly found in an unheated room with a body temperature in the 80s.  There was always a question as to whether she had eloped out of the building and brought back in by the staff.

If you have questions regarding the rights of residents of assisted living facilities please browse our website for more information or feel free to contact us for a free consultation. 

Best regards,

Josh Silverman

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