Woman Dies From Hypothermia After Wandering From Assisted Living Facility

An 87-year-old woman froze to death after walking out of the secured Alzheimer’s unit at an Ohio nursing home.  Dortha Gifford was a resident at the Heartland of Woodridge assisted living facility for the last five years.  Gifford lived in the locked unit of the facility because of her propensity to wander. According to Gifford’s family, she had gotten out of the assisted living facility on other occasions.

Why do these tragic themes of missing nursing home residents continue to emerge across the country?  Woman Dies From Hypothermia After WanderingUnfortunately, the answer is not singular.  Nursing homes consistently break the trust families place in them when they fail to:

  • Install technology updates (such as automatic locks and alarms) to their facilities that to help contain residents with a propensity to wander.
  • Train staff to identify residents who are likely to wander from the facility and how to search for missing residents.
  • Provide adequate staffing levels to look after residents.  Many of the wandering incidents occur during ‘off’ hours when the facility is minimally staffed.

If your loved one has escaped from a nursing home or assisted living facility, the facility is likely responsible.  We have helped many families recover civil damages for the death or injury of their loved one.  More importantly, many of the nursing home cases Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC prosecute have led to safety improvements at many facilities and help ensure the safety of new residents.

For laws related to Ohio nursing homes, look here.

Related Nursing Homes Abuse Blog Posts On Resident Wandering:

Fall Leaves Dementia Patient With Broken Neck At Assisted Living Facility

Nursing Homes For Alzheimer’s Patients.  What To Look For?

Family Sues Florida Nursing Home For Death Of Resident Who Wandered From Facilityy

How Much Freedom Should Assisted Living Facilities Give The Mentally Disabled?


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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric