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Understanding Wandering & Nursing Home Neglect

Caring for aging loved ones requires specialized care. Often, you can’t do it alone. Medical leaders design nursing homes to be safe and stable places with empathetic and caring staff members. After all, if your loved one is dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they need extra monitoring to keep them safe.

However, some nursing homes are lax in their duties and leave residents to their own devices. Understand wandering and nursing home neglect to prepare for unfortunate circumstances.

Wandering vs. Elopement

If a resident with a cognitive disorder like Alzheimer’s or dementia is left alone, they may escape from the view of the nursing home staff. Wandering refers to a nursing home resident who gets lost on the grounds of the facility.

Elopement, meanwhile, means that the resident has left the property altogether. Residents who elope are often harder to find and are at more risk of getting hurt.

How Is It Prevented?

Wandering and elopement cases are unfortunate but avoidable. A nursing home that is properly secured and adequately staffed can prevent residents from wandering. Your loved one’s facility should have the following:

  • High security. Each entrance and exit to the nursing home should be guarded or locked. If any rooms are not safe for residents to use, they should be locked.
  • Preventative measures. Residents can get restless from sitting in the same few rooms all day! Recreational activities and exercise programs can mitigate that restlessness and prevent residents from wandering off.
  • Eagle-eyed staff. Every person working at the facility should be attentive and responsive to residents. If a resident wanders off, they should know the proper protocols for finding them.

What If It’s Not Prevented?

If your loved one does wander or elope from their nursing home, they are in more danger of illness or injury. They could walk into traffic without realizing it or develop hypothermia from being out in the cold for too long.

Talk to the staff at your loved one’s nursing home. Who let them out of their sight? A hospital negligence attorney can help you investigate what went wrong and how the nursing home can make it right. One or more members of the staff could be liable for any harm that came to your loved one after they wandered away.

Wandering and elopement cases in nursing homes are stressful but often completely avoidable. If your loved one does slip away, the facility’s staff may have to answer for their lack of attention. Call Rossman Law Group to understand wandering and nursing home neglect more thoroughly.