Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed After Woman Freezes Outside Nursing Home

An Illinois nursing home faces a wrongful death lawsuit that has been filed by the family of a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, who died after being trapped in the cold outside of the facility. 

The nursing home lawsuit was filed last week by the family of Genevieve Klimczak, who was 91 years old when she died after wandering out of the McHenry Villa retirement home in McHenry, Illinois.

According to a report in the Northwest Herald, Klimczak suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and walked out of a self-locking door at the nursing home. After the door locked behind her, she could not get back inside of the facility and died as a result of exposure to the elements, with her body found the next morning.

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The lawsuit, filed in Cook County court by Klimczak’s nephew, Donald Lorenz, accuses the facility and its management of failing to provide Klimczak with a safe environment, and of not properly managing the facility. The lawsuit blames their alleged negligence for her death.

The lawsuit says that nursing home staff allowed Klimczak to wander freely and unsafely, despite her Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, which the family claims made it unsafe.

Wandering from a long-term care facility, often referred to as nursing home elopement, can result in serious injuries like fractures from falls, heat stroke or hypothermia in extreme weather conditions.

It is generally accepted that preventative measures by a nursing home can eliminate or greatly reduce the risk of serious injuries from nursing home wandering.  Facilities can train staff, move high risk patients near the nurses stations, use door alarms and security cameras and lock sections of the nursing home where residents who are prone to wander are housed.


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