This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Ohio nursing home resident dies of hypothermia

The death of a 76-year-old resident of a Mennonite-run nursing home prompted an investigation by the Ohio Department of Health.

Phyllis Campbell was found dead Jan. 7 in the courtyard of Hilty Home in Pandora, Ohio, which is owned by Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio.

According to a Jan. 24 report in The Lima (Ohio) News, the investigation concluded that Campbell had died of hypothermia after exiting the building without being noticed. After being put to bed at 12:35 a.m., she left through an open door that should have sounded an alarm for 90 seconds.

Two nurses aides said they hadn’t done scheduled checks at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., although the record showed they were completed. The coroner’s investigation indicated Campbell died between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. The temperature dropped to minus-2 degrees that night. Staff didn’t realize she was missing until around 8:15 a.m.

The report said Campbell was a patient of Hilty Home’s memory care unit and had a history of trying to leave the facility. She wore a device called a “wander guard” meant to alert staff if she exited the building, but when tested, the device didn’t always activate when it passed sensors.

An emailed statement from Hilty Home executive director Jason Cox said the employees involved are no longer with the organization.

The Lima News report said devices that held doors open were removed from the memory care unit, and the 90-second alarm was replaced by a continuous-sounding alarm. Hilty Home also replaced the “wander guards” for the eight remaining residents in the memory care unit.

“We are grieving for the family and extend our heart-felt sympathy to them,” Cox’s statement said. “Our Hilty Home community is also grieving for the loss of a resident we loved.”

Campbell was previously active in the Trinity Baptist Church choir. She is survived by two sons, two daughters and eight grandchildren.

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