Lehigh Valley

State revokes license of nursing home where Audrey Penn went missing

SALISBURY TWP., Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is revoking the license of the Lehigh County senior living community where an Alzheimer's patient went missing several weeks ago.

Audrey Penn, 77, disappeared from Woodland Terrace at the Oaks on Cedar Crest Boulevard in Salisbury Township on Aug. 23. 

She was found dead almost a month later in a drainage ditch near Hamilton Boulevard and Kressler Road.

In a report issued Friday, the Pennsylvania DHS said it is revoking the license for Woodland Terrace because of the facility's "gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct."

An inspection on August 25, two days after she went missing, found that staff did not immediately report Penn was missing, the report says.

A staff member noticed Penn was not in her room during room checks around 6 a.m., but a search was not initiated until around 7:30 a.m. when the staffer told the supervisor she was missing, according to the report.

The inspection also found that Penn had previously gotten out of the dementia unit in an incident earlier this year by using the exit keypad to unlock the door.

Woodland Terrace staff also said that Penn often engaged in "exit-seeking behavior," and was frequently seen trying to push doors open and use the door key pads to leave the secure facility.

DHS said the facility was negligent by failing to address Penn's repeated behavior of trying to leave and by not reporting her disappearance immediately.

The report cites several other violations from the August 25 inspection, as well as inspections of the facility earlier in the year.

The nursing facility was operating on a provisional license set to expire November 9.

Woodland Terrace issued a statement in response to the notice:

"On Friday, Woodland Terrace received notification from the state of intent to revoke the community's license. The community will continue to work with the state during the appeal process so that it can maintain its healthcare license and provide services for its residents."

The facility has 10 days to appeal the decision. As of Saturday morning, no appeal had been filed.

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