Compassionate Legal Support When You Need It Most
Compassionate Legal Support When You Need It Most

How can nursing homes cause elderly wandering and elopement?

Your loved one’s safety is a top priority. When your loved one resides in an elderly care facility, they should receive the care they need within a secure environment. This applies in a nursing home, assisted living or a memory care unit.

Unfortunately, some nursing homes do not provide the required care and attention their elderly residents need. This can lead to elderly wandering and elopement. Here are four ways this happens.

Insufficient supervision

A nursing home might not have enough staff or the existing staff may lack proper training. As a result, not all elderly residents may receive the close monitoring they need, which could lead to unnoticed wandering. This lack of oversight could lead to serious accidents or injuries.

Inadequate safety measures

Some facilities might not have sufficient security measures. They may lack alarms on doors or windows, or doors might not be adequately secured. Such deficiencies can make it easy for elderly residents to leave the premises. The risk is particularly high for residents with cognitive impairments who might exit the facility unnoticed, potentially exposing themselves to harm.

When leaving becomes easy, they might do so and end up getting hurt.

Lack of engagement

Nursing homes should keep their residents engaged and occupied. They can do this by offering activities tailored to the residents’ interests. If they fail to do so, residents may become bored or restless. Consequently, they might wander or attempt to leave the facility (elope) for stimulation.

Improper evaluation of residents

It’s crucial for the staff to fully understand each resident’s needs and cognitive conditions, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This understanding should extend to their risk of wandering or elopement. Nursing homes that fail to assess and plan for these risks correctly may not only endanger their residents but also demonstrate a severe lack of understanding and care from the facility.

Seeking legal help

In certain cases, residents may be allowed to wander within the premises under supervision, such as during designated free times or in secure outdoor areas. However, if your loved one strays far from the nursing home or suffers an injury due to environmental risks or harmful incidents, the facility may be negligent. In such situations, it could be beneficial to consult with an attorney to understand your options.