Brain-injured man disappeared when home staff wasn’t looking

On the day of his disappearance, a resident of a personal-care home who was found dead four weeks later had not been checked on by staff for nearly three hours, reports Valarie Honeycutt Spears of the Lexington Herald-Leader, citing documents from a state investigation.

Additionally, Falmouth Nursing Home did not have a policy to make sure residents were under constant supervision and “the facility failed to establish” one, investigators found.
Larry Joe Lee, right, was a ward of the state and had a brain injury stemming from a childhood accident. He was “schizophrenic, bipolar and diabetic,” Spears writes. He disappeared from the nursing home Aug. 4. His body was found Sept. 3 near the Licking River by bow hunters. The cause of his death has not yet been determined.
Spears’ calls to the  home were not returned. It has since submitted a plan of correction to the state, which includes professional development for staff and new policies to keep track of patients’ whereabouts.
“Since Lee’s death, advocates and state lawmakers have been questioning whether personal care homes are the appropriate plate for people with brain injuries,” Spears reports. Republican Sen. Jimmy Higdon, who comes from Lee’s hometown of Lebanon, said he is on a fact-finding mission to see what changes need to be made to prevent a similar occurrence from happening. (Read more)
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