Care home investigates how dementia patient died in ditch

A care home in Langeraar near Leiden has launched an investigation after a woman suffering from dementia was found dead in a ditch several kilometres away.

The woman, who was 67, was living in a secure unit but managed to ‘escape’ on Tuesday evening and, dressed only in night clothes, walk several kilometres to Papenveer.

‘This is the worst thing that could happen to us. We don’t understand how it could go so wrong,’ Marja van der Valk from the care home told the AD. ‘Lifts and doors are secured and there is permanent supervision. But this is a care home, not a prison.’


The woman had spent the past month in the unit which was opened this summer. Her disappearance was noted in the middle of the night and workers searched the care home and grounds before alerting the police.

So far it has been established that the woman rang the door of a house in Papenveer in the evening but that no one opened it. However, the daughter of the resident alerted the police yesterday morning after the alarm for the missing woman had gone out.

Her body was found in a ditch by a villager shortly afterwards, the AD said.

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