Wandering residents – who is at fault?

I was reading a news article today about an 85 year-old woman who was found wandering around in a ditch at 3:30 in the morning. Apparently, she had gotten out of her assisted living facility, and wandered away. The facility was unclear as to how she got out. The main entrance is monitored and has an alarm, according to the article. There was some question about the alarm being turned off by another resident who is authorized to leave.

No enforcement action will be taken against the Kennewick (WA) assisted living facility. “But a citation will be issued to Silver Fern Home for not having a proper care plan established in writing for her, said David Moon, regional administrator for residential care services with the state Department of Social & Health Services’ Aging and Disability Services Administration” the article said.

This brings up a great question in regards to who is liable when an incident like this happens. Should the facility be held liable, or should the resident? Of course, matters are complicated when the home is for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients.

Silver Fern home was not cited. Apparently, there is a benchmark for determining if action or a citation is warranted. If the staff “could have known” or “should have known” that it would happen then the facility is more likely to be held accountable.

The home is instituting additional security measures according to the article.