3 nursing home employees indicted in resident's death

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Three Ohio nursing home workers were indicted last week for allegedly falsifying bed check records and failing to provide care to a resident.

The charges stem from the Jan. 7 death of Phyllis J. Campbell, 76, a resident of the memory care unit at the Hilty Home in Pandora, OH. According to the Lima News, Campbell wandered through a propped-open door in the dining room and out to the courtyard. She was wearing wander management equipment at the time, and the movement through the door should have alerted staffers to her changing location, but it was not functioning properly.

Campbell spent some eight hours in that courtyard in below zero temps, where she was eventually found dead of hypothermia, just 30 feet from those dining room doors, according to local reports.

Rachel R. Friesel, 36, and Destini Fenbert, 20, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony, in the death, according to the Lima News. They are also charged with forgery for allegedly falsifying bed check records, a fifth-degree felony, along with gross patient neglect, a first-degree misdemeanor. A third employee, Megan E. Schnipke, 31, has been charged with one count of forgery, a fifth-degree felony, also for forging documentation, along with gross patient neglect. Arraignment is scheduled for May 16 in the Putnam County Common Pleas Court.

An employee who answered the phone at Hilty Home Friday said the organization declined to comment on the case. Back in January, Laura Voth, the CEO of Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio, the nursing home's parent company, told the news site in a prepared statement: “First and foremost, we are grieving for the family and grieving the loss of our resident. This is personal work and our staff and elders become like family. Our sympathy is extended to the family in their time of loss,” she said at the time. “The health and safety of our elders is of utmost importance to us.”