State completes investigation into Samaritan Summit Village death

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 12:55 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A state investigation concluded that a Samaritan Summit Village skilled nursing facility resident died in October because of a lack of constant supervision.

The resident, who had dementia and a history of wandering, refused to wear a monitoring device called a Wanderguard despite several attempts by staff, the Department of Health investigation showed.

The resident became agitated and combative whenever staff tried to put the device on her. The resident repeatedly insisted on going home.

Samaritan spokesperson Leslie DiStefano said the staff understood the risks in the resident not having a Wanderguard.

“They knew the risk involved, hence the multiple attempts,” she said. They also tried things to calm the resident down between those attempts.”

Within hours of being admitted to the facility on October 14, the resident left the building and was found on the steps of another building with a bruise on her forehead. A family member had discovered the resident was no longer in her room.

The resident had been outside the skilled nursing facility for nine minutes.

The resident was taken to Samaritan Medical Center, was diagnosed with a frontal lobe hemorrhage, and died five days later.

The resident was admitted to the nursing home the day after she was taken to the hospital by sheriff’s deputies after they found her wandering the street,

In response, the hospital said residents who refuse to wear a Wanderguard will be supervised one on one until the device can be placed, “and other tools that we can help to make sure that if there was an element of risk, we had more measures in place,” DiStefano said.

DiStefano said Samaritan’s corrective action has already been implemented and approved by the DOH.

She said the facility received a citation from DOH and will have to pay a fine. The amount of the fine will be released soon.