January 6, 1995
WATSEKA NURSING HOME FINED
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- The Illinois Department of Public Health has fined Watseka Health Care Center, a 123-bed long-term care facility located at 715 E. Raymond Road in Watseka, $10,000 for failure to ensure all residents are properly supervised.
A 75-year-old resident left unsupervised in the dining room wandered from the care center and his body was found almost three months later at the edge of a farm field northwest of the facility. Staff did not see the resident leave.
At the time the resident left the facility, the employee entrance alarm was not turned on and the front door alarm could not be heard from the living room or from the dining room. Staff also reported that the front door alarm could not be heard if staff members were in a resident's room.
About six weeks before the July elopement, the man, who had been assessed as a wanderer, had left the facility undetected and was returned unharmed by a neighbor who lived one block away. The elopement did not result in any changes to the resident's level of supervision. Another resident left the facility three times over the three-month period prior to the July elopement without staff's knowledge. There were no modifications made to the alarm system as a result of any of these elopements.
The facility was ordered to revise its policies for resident supervision, ensure door alarms are functioning, visually monitor exits when alarms are turned off, and review search procedures for missing residents.
The facility has requested a hearing on the Department's actions. No hearing date has been set.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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