Nursing home negligent in death of resident who fell into hot laundry water, state rules

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A Minnesota nursing home has been found negligent in the death of a resident who entered the facility's laundry room and fell into a basin of 155-degree laundry wastewater, according to a report released Wednesday.

Allenne Hookom, 90, reportedly wandered into the laundry room at Auburn Manor in Chaska,  MN, on Dec. 31, 2016. Hookom eventually fell backward into a concrete basin on the floor of the room that collects hot runoff water, and was discovered by a nursing assistant who heard her calls for help.

Hookom suffered second-degree burns from the scalding water, and died the next day at a local hospital from “thermal injuries,” the report shows.

The state health department ruled that Auburn Manor was negligent in the incident, since Hookom was known to wander. The department's report also showed that facility staff had left the laundry room door open with a magnetic latch meant to “make it easier to go in and out of the laundry room.”

Mike Senden, CEO and president of Auburn's parent company Auburn Homes and Services, told The Minneapolis Star Tribune that he understands the state's report, and considers the incident “a really heartbreaking accident [that] affected our staff greatly and the family greatly.”

Following Hookom's death Auburn Manor has removed the magnetic latch from the door of the laundry room, and now requires it to be locked at all times unless a staff member has direct view of the door, the newspaper reported. A screen has also been placed on top of the wastewater basin.