Nursing home elopement in Maryland is when a resident leaves a nursing home without supervision or permission. It’s a dangerous and life-threatening issue that puts the resident at risk. Nursing home elopement occurs for several reasons, including confusion, wandering and disorientation.
Risks associated with elopement
Nursing home elopement is dangerous because elderly residents are vulnerable. Elderly residents who wander away can get lost or hurt. They can become exposed to bad weather, become crime victims or even be killed. There have been elder law cases involving families dealing with the aftermath of elopement incidents.
Nursing homes can consider providing activities that will keep residents entertained. Physical activities and social interactions might keep a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s from wandering.
Another possible solution is to install alarms and monitoring systems within the facility. The staff will receive a notification if a resident tries to leave the facility. Staff can then intervene and prevent the resident from eloping.
It also helps educate staff on recognizing signs a resident might elope. For example, the resident might show signs of confusion or restlessness.
Nursing homes should have procedures and policies for dealing with nursing home elopement. Emotions can run high when a resident goes missing. If there’s a clear plan when elopement happens, the staff will know exactly how to handle the situation. Drills and training sessions can also help staff prepare for the real thing.
Nursing home elopement is a potentially life-threatening situation. It’s an issue that staff and family members need to become aware of. But by developing prevention strategies, nursing homes can reduce the risk of elopement and protect the residents.