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Investigation reveals problems that may have cost a man his life

KMOV.com

Posted on February 21, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 11:25 PM

(KMOV) -- A state investigation into a Metro East nursing home reveals problems that may have cost a man his life.

A 77-year-old man wandered away from Midwest Rehab last month and was found in a frozen creek less than a block away.  Now his family is suing, and the state-issued report may help their case.

Aubrey Giles's family says Midwest Rehab didn't do enough to protect him.  In the 48-page report from the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services the state cited the nursing home for failing in eight different areas.   It all seems to support the family's claim.

"Even Stevie Wonder could look at the information that's out there and see negligence," Staci Yandle, attorney for the Giles family, said.

The state report on the death of an elderly man with dementia supports that claim.  Aubrey Giles's daughters are suing Midwest Rehab and Respiratory Care for wrongful death after their dad wandered away from the facility that was supposed to care for him and died.

State health officials found eight types of violations in their investigation.  They say the facility didn't do enough to stop residents, like Giles, from wandering off.  Investigators say staff didn't revise and update his care plan, nor did they tell his doctors when they knew he had a history of "packing up his belongings" and trying to leave.

The state also discovered that no one checked the door alarms on weekends.  Giles disappeared on a Saturday.  Yandle says he walked out the front door - right past the receptionist.

"[Giles's death] could have been prevented," Yandle said.  "Had the facility taken reasonable steps that they should have taken -- that they were required to take by regulations -- and frankly by common sense, this could have been prevented at a number of levels."

Since Giles's death, Midwest Rehab has re-trained its staff on how to respond to wandering and missing residents.  Staff reassessed each resident and updated his/her care plan as needed.  The facility installed new door alarms and required that they be checked every day.  The facility also extended receptionist hours.

Midwest Rehab had no comment on the lawsuit.

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