Investigators say a 76-year-old woman spent roughly eight hours outside an Ohio nursing home while temperatures dipped below zero before she was found dead from hypothermia in early January.
A report from the Ohio Department of Health says two nursing home aides told investigators they didn’t do scheduled checks that night even though they were marked as completed.
The state’s report said four workers had been put on leave, but the facility’s owner said Wednesday that the employees involved are no longer with the organization.
A county prosecutor is looking into what happened.
The state health department’s report says Phyllis Campbell was found in the nursing home’s courtyard about 30 feet from its doors the morning of January 7.
Campbell was “noted to be fidgety” on January 6 “and wanted to walk and leave the facility.”
The report states that Campbell got up shortly after she was put to bed around midnight, then she made her way to the dining room and left through a door to the courtyard but an alarm that should have alerted staff did not go off.
Staff didn’t realize that she was missing, until around 7 the next morning when they began their search.
The facility’s operators say they’ve made changes to safety procedures and that the employees involved are no longer with the organization.
The woman, who earlier in the day told a nurse’s aide she was going home, went through a door into a courtyard.
When staff tested the alarms, they didn’t always go off when the device passed sensors.
A coroner determined that Campbell likely died an hour or two after she went outside the Hilty Memorial Home in Pandora, roughly 50 miles southwest of Toledo.
Laura Voth, chief executive of Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio, said the nursing home has since made changes to safety procedures.
‘Let me restate that we are deeply saddened by this loss. We are grieving for the family and extend our heart-felt sympathy to them,’ she said.
The Putnam County sheriff’s office has handed over the results of its investigation to the county prosecutor.
The state’s findings say Campbell had wandered into the courtyard twice during the week before she died and that she got out of her room several times that day and said, ‘I’m going home.’
Later that night, she went through a door to the courtyard with an alarm that should sound constantly for 90 seconds, the report said.
She also was wearing a device that should have detected when she was wandering the building, but tests later showed the sensors did not always work, the state’s report said.
Staff members also told investigators the device didn’t always work.