GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans made some changes in the way they handle Alzheimer's patients following the death of 84-year-old Andrew Ball in April.
Ball, a World War II veteran with Alzheimer's, wandered into another resident's home at 4 a.m. and was hit by the man in that room, who also suffers from Alzheimer's. Ball was treated, but a few days later died from complications of being hit in the face.
The State of Michigan Veterans Affairs department showed a document to 24 Hour News 8 outlining the changes they've made:
- Another caregiver has been added to the nightshift
- Mesh stop signs and caution tape placed across the doorways of some residents. This works for some people, not for others
- Plan to improve staff training about working with people with dementia.
Ball's daughter, Deb Keyworth, called for changes to be made. Her mother was also in the Veterans Home until she was recently moved to a nursing home in East Lansing, where Keyworth lives.
"I'm glad they have implemented this so maybe nobody else gets hurt at all," she told 24 Hour News 8 by phone. "But for this family it's a little too late. ... If they had done any of those things prior to this maybe the outcome would be different."
The man who hit Ball will not be charged. On May 31, Kent County prosecutor William Forsyth said, "This entire incident is a tragedy and I will not compound it by attempting to prosecute the alleged suspect. Both Mr. Ball, age 84, and the suspect, age 86, had honorably and proudly served our nation during World War II and both had been fortunate enough to have survived and to have lived long and productive lives. Regrettably, late in life, Alzheimer's robbed them of their dignity, their independence and their memories. In reality it stole from them, their family and their friends the essence of who they were. Given the suspect's age and the extent of his dementia, absolutely nothing will be gained by charging him with a crime; a crime I doubt he has any memory of having committed."
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