A bracket that might have saved the life of an elderly woman was missing from the window of a Howell assisted living facility.
The 86-year-old resident of the Vista Springs Assisted Living Community died December 9th after falling from a second-floor apartment. She was discovered by a passerby and later died of her injuries. According to a report on the death from the Howell Police Department, the woman, who suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia, had moved into the apartment earlier that day. WHMI obtained a copy of the report through a Freedom of Information Act request.
In it, police say the woman’s window, “did not have a bracket on it and it was believed this was missing due to the room recently being painted and it needing to be aired out.” Vista Springs Director Daniella Gilmore told police that a window bracket was not required because the facility is not licensed by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). However, they are installed if requested by family members, but in this case Gilmore said the victim’s family did not make such a request.
The report noted that the screen on the window was cut, but as there were no items found that could have made such a cut, it was surmised that she may have used her fingernail. An employee of the facility reported that only one staff member was on the second-floor at the time of the incident. WHMI was told separately by an employee that the facility was chronically understaffed and only three employees were on duty the day of the death, when there are supposed to be six.
After concluding their investigation, Howell Police filed a complaint with the LARA and the Adult Protective Services Division of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. (JK)