Authorities are now looking into how 85-year-old, Edna May Sides, managed to wander from Hillside Plaza Nursing Home without the knowledge of nursing home staff. On July 15th, Sides dead body was found a short distance from the facility.
Initially, the nursing home told the family that Sides passed from ‘natural causes’. However, when the family learned that Sides wandered from the facility, they notified the Cherokee County Sheriff and the Wells Police Department. “The family thought it was a little strange, so they went to the Justice of the Peace in Alto and then called the Sheriff’s Office and our department.” said Wells Police Chief Barry Starnes
Despite the fact that law enforcement officials are involved in an investigation, Chief Starnes doesn’t believe foul play is involved, “I believe there was possible negligence, but I don’t believe someone purposely did this. We’re trying to get to the bottom of how this person got outside when she wasn’t supposed to be,” he said.
Read more about the wandering of a Texas nursing home patient here.
Wandering Nursing Home Patients
Once again, simple preventative measures implemented by a facility could literally be the difference between life and death for nursing home patients. There is no excuse for a nursing home’s failure to keep residents who are prone to wandering from leaving the premises of the facility. Nursing homes that care for patients who are prone to wander or elope should have the following safeguards in place:
- Door alarms
- Window locks
- Door locks
- Bracelets that track each resident’s location
- Hire adequate staff to look after residents
- Have contingent plans to locate residents who may wander from the facility
If you have loved one who may be prone to wandering from the facility, ask the administrator if the above safety measures are in place at the facility. My guess is that facilities that implement these safety measures have significantly lower rates of wandering.