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Wrongful death lawsuit filed after resident dies of hypothermia

Providing care for a person struggling with dementia is difficult. Often, families in New Jersey are not able to ensure that their loved ones are safe, prompting them to place them in a residential care facility. While they expect that family members suffering from dementia will receive appropriate care, one out-of-state family claims that negligence on the part of staff members caring for their loved one resulted in a wrongful death.

The case involves the death of an 85-year-old woman. Her body was discovered on the grounds of her residential care facility in October. She had apparently been locked outside for over four hours and died of hypothermia due to cold and rainy conditions.

Two former employees of the facility now face criminal charges as a result of the resident's death. A 21-year-old woman is accused of failing to ensure that no resident had exited the building before resetting an alarm. The second employee, a 45-year-old woman, is accused of falsifying medical records after indicating she had completed required bed checks every 30 minutes when she allegedly had not.

In addition to the recently announced criminal charges, the family of the deceased woman has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit, accusing the facility of carelessness and negligence. By taking such action, family members could not only be awarded damages to help cope with the financial ramifications of their loss but could also receive some peace of mind knowing that they have taken measures to prevent similar losses in the future. Those in New Jersey who have lost a loved one due to failures on the part of a nursing home facility also have the option of pursuing justice through civil litigation.

Source: mlive.com, "Nursing home employees charged in death of 85-year-old dementia patient", Justin P. Hicks, March 22, 2017

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