Wandering Patient Dies Outside Of Nursing Home | Michigan Wrongful Death Attorneys

Genevieve Klimczak, a 91 year-old Alzheimer’s patient, did not receive the proper care she deserved, and froze to death outside the doors of the nursing facility where she resided. Her nephew, Donald Lorenz, states she was an Alzheimer’s patient. She resided at McHenry Villa retirement community, also known as the Fox River Retirement Center. Last February, Klimczak went out an exit door near her room and was unable to get back into the building. The charges allege that Klimczak was able to wander without supervision, leave her room and exit out of a one-way, self-locking door.

The most disturbing part is that she was not discovered for more than 12 hours. Klimzak was found still outside the building and frozen to death on the sidewalk. It was reported to be as cold as seven degrees that night. The wrongful death lawsuit brought on Klimczak’s behalf asserts that the facility did not have an alarm or security cameras and did not follow through with its promise to maintain 24-hour security for its residents.

Specifically, the complaint alleged that the defendant knew that Klimczak suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and was unable to care for herself. Lorenz claimed that defendants failed to maintain a safe environment and that the facility was not properly managed, resulting in his aunt’s death.

Wandering occurs when a resident with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other psychiatric diagnosis encounters a dangerous situation while moving around the nursing home facility unsupervised. A recent study states that 6 in 10 people with dementia will wander.  A person with dementia may not remember his or her name, or address, and can become confused, even in familiar places. This is why it is very unsafe for dementia residents to wander.

Warning Signs Alzheimer’s Residents May Wander From Michigan Nursing Home

Some residents in Michigan nursing homes may experience some of the following warning signs.  These signs should be documented by the nursing home staff and these patients should be provided with the appropriate supervision. These warning signs include, but not limited to:

  • Returns from a regular walk or drive later than usual
  • Tries to fulfill former obligations, such as going to work
  • Tries or wants to “go home,” even when at home
  • Is restless, paces or makes repetitive movements
  • Has difficulty locating familiar places like the bathroom, bedroom or dining room
  • Asks the whereabouts of current or past friends and family
  • Acts as if doing a hobby or chore, but nothing gets done (e.g., moves around pots and dirt without actually planting anything)
  • Appears lost in a new or changed environment

Recurring incidences of wandering resulting in a resident’s injury or death may signal nursing home neglect. Wandering should generally not occur.  When it does, it should be detected early enough to avoid injury to the resident if the nursing home follows certain principles and procedures. These contain hiring the suitable staff to supervise all of the nursing home residents; train staff properly on supervising residents; install alarms, cameras, and other surveillance devices at exits and entrances as well as near restricted or dangerous locations; adequately assess the risk for elopement or wandering of each individual resident; and having a quick-response plan in place.

Contact Your Michigan Nursing Home Alzheimer’s Resident Wandering Attorney

If a loved one has wandered due to dementia from a Michigan nursing home, call our office now at (800) 606-1717 to speak with one of our experienced lawyers at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. We will start working on your case immediately and gather the necessary evidence to prove and win your case. We have a top track record of successful settlements and verdicts in nursing home neglect wandering cases in Michigan and we can do the same for you. Call today for your free consultation and learn your legal rights!


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